The death toll from a migrant shipwreck off the coast of Barbate, Cadiz, has climbed to 18 after five bodies were recovered last night near Los Caños de Meca. A total of 22 people have been rescued, while an estimated six others remain missing.
One week after a migrant shipwreck off the coast of Barbate in the Spanish province of Cadiz, the death toll has climbed to 18 after five more bodies were recovered. Guardia Civil lieutenant José Antonio Olivas, who is coordinating rescue efforts, told Spanish daily ABC that the ship on which the migrants were travelling ''maybe would have resisted'' the wreck, had those on board not been frightened when they saw cliffs.
Due to poor weather conditions, the boat crashed on the rocks on November 5. ''We don't know exactly how many are still missing,'' added the officer, saying that rescuers believe the number could be between three and six, according to conflicting survivor accounts.
Boat left from Morocco, two arrested
The migrants' crossing started in Kenitra, Morocco, at least 25 hours before the shipwreck, with at least 40 migrants of Moroccan origin aboard the wooden boat, including 11 minors. The majority, according to survivors, did not know how to swim and were ill-equipped with inadequate life jackets. The boat crashed due to bad weather conditions some 200 meters off the coast. Migrants had paid 1,500 euros each for the crossing.
Police in Algeciras arrested the pilot and co-pilot of the boat, two men from Morocco aged 32 and 21. They face charges of conspiracy to commit murder and of harming the rights of foreign citizens, investigative sources told Spanish media. The two suspects will be questioned by magistrates in Cadiz on Thursday. Local Guardia Civil officers will continue the search for victims over the next two days.
At least 6,714 have died, disappeared in Strait of Gibraltar
According to UN's International Organization for Migration (IOM), at least 6,714 migrants have died or disappeared in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar since 1988. However, IOM said it believes the actual figure to be far higher, as many victims are without documents.