An investigation is underway in Spain after four bodies were discovered over the last seven days off the area of Malaga, in the south.
According to local reports, the deceased are believed to have perished while they were attempting to reach Spain's coast from North Africa.
The last body was discovered in the morning of Sunday (January 23) near La Malagueta, one of Malaga's beaches, according to the emergency service of the Andalusia region.
The victim was a woman without documents, well-informed sources said. The other three bodies were found over the previous days just south of the area, near Torremolinos y Benalmádena, according to local reports.
Autopsies on the four bodies revealed that the migrants drowned, local papers said. Over the past few days, bad weather was reported between northern Morocco and the coast of Malaga, the so-called Alboran Sea, the local edition of the newspaper Abc reported.
Migration routes between North Africa, Spain deadly traps
Migration routes between the coasts of North Africa and Spain are often deadly traps for those trying to cross them.
Over the past few months, the main scenario of these tragedies -- at least based on available information -- was the Atlantic area dividing Morocco and western Sahara from the Canary Islands, where last year over 22,000 people disembarked, according to data provided by the Spanish interior ministry.
However, shipwrecks and casualties at sea have also been reported in the western Mediterranean. Some incidents were recorded in the area of Almeria, a city situated further east compared to Malaga, often the destination of migrant boats coming from Algeria.
In September, for example, at least eight bodies, including one of a child, were found in a few days in beaches in the area.
Knowing for certain how many people disappear and die during the crossing to Spain -- which is often undertaken aboard rickety boats -- is complicated as many trips are not reported.
According to the NGO Caminando Fronteras, which has been monitoring the situation regarding migrants in the area for years, at least 4,404 people in 2021 died or disappeared while they were trying to reach Spain.