Two migrants die trying to reach the Canary Islands

Two migrants died trying to reach the Canary Islands of Spain on a boat carrying more than 30 people, confirmed AFP on Thursday, the latest fatal incident involving the treacherous crossing.

The drifting ship was towed to the port of Arguineguin on the island of Gran Canaria, where AFP journalists saw rescuers removing two bodies from the boat.

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Earlier, the Canary Islands 112 emergency service tweeted that two migrants had to be treated at sea because they are “in a much more serious condition than the rest of the group”, with one suffering from hypothermia and dehydration, and the other from a hand injury.

It was not clear where the boat set sail from, but Spain is one of the main gateways for migrants leaving North Africa in search of a better life in Europe.

The number of people trying to cross the sea to the Canary Islands, an archipelago in the Atlantic off the coast of northwest Africa, has increased dramatically since late 2019 after controls on Mediterranean routes were tightened.

Spain’s interior minister says 16,827 migrants arrived there by sea between January and October 2021 – an increase of 44 percent over the same period in 2020.

But the road to the Canary Islands is particularly dangerous – since the beginning of the year, about 900 people have died trying it, according to the International Organization for Migration.

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