At least three people, including a pregnant woman, died and five others still missing after a migrant boat overturned off Lanzarote in the Canary Islands .
The head of Lanzarote emergency services, Enrique Espinosa, confirmed the tragedy on Friday, June 18.
Espinosa said the vessel carrying 49 people overturned close to the shore near Orzola, a village on the northern tip of the island after it hit a rocky area just off the island’s northern shores.
The migrants were sub-Saharan Africans who had set off two days earlier from the Moroccan town of Tantan, which lies 250 kilometres (160 miles) east of Lanzarote, Espinosa added.
Rescuers pulled out 20 men, 17 women, two children and two babies and search operations are still ongoing in attempt to rescue the 5 people, one female minor and 4 males that are still missing, AFP reported.
More than 20 000 people making the dangerous Atlantic crossing from Africa’s northern western coast landed in the Canary Islands last year.
At least 1,851 died on the route according to the Caminando Fronteras organisation which monitors migrant flows.
Migrant arrivals on the Atlantic archipelago have increased since late 2019 following the reduced patrols along Europe’s southern coast.