Up to 47 people are feared dead after their boat’s engine failed en route from Western Sahara to the Canary Islands. The missing migrants include three children.
The United Nations' migration agency IOM says 47 people, including three minors, are missing after their boat encountered engine trouble on the passage from Western Sahara to Spain's Canary Islands.
A boat carrying 54 people reportedly left Laayoune in Western Sahara around a fortnight ago, according to seven survivors who were picked up by the Mauritanian coast guard.
"We are working with the Mauritanian authorities to search for the bodies of those migrants who died en route to the Canary Islands," said Boubacar Seybou, an IOM spokesperson.
Fuerteventura, the closest of the Canary Islands to the African coast, is around 100 kilometers from Laayoune.
According to Spanish government figures, at least 7,531 people reached the Canary Islands from Western Africa in the first seven months of 2021, an increase of 136% on the number of arrivals over the same period in 2020.