4 migrants are found dead and 64 are rescued as a Mauritanian boat reaches Spain’s Canary Islands

BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Four migrants were found dead and 64 were rescued when a boat from Mauritania reached Spain’s Canary Islands after a dangerous Atlantic journey from West Africa, Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service said.

The migrants arrived on the island of El Hierro late on Tuesday evening, with the survivors including two women and nine minors, the service said.

In poor health, two people were transferred by helicopter to a hospital on the island of Tenerife while 14 others were taken to a local hospital on El Hierro to be treated mainly for hypothermia and dehydration, according to a post on X, formerly Twitter, by a local emergency service.

Nearly 12,000 migrants fleeing poverty, conflict and instability in West Africa have landed on the Spanish archipelago in the first two months of the year, according to Spain’s interior ministry.

That’s more than six times the number that made it to the islands last year. El Hierro, the westernmost of the Canary Islands, is bearing the brunt of arrivals.

Most migrants have been departing from the coast of Mauritania on artisanal fishing boats known as pirogues and navigating for several days against strong winds and Atlantic currents. While thousands have survived the risky journey, many die or disappear along the way with remains sometimes washing up on the other side of the Atlantic.

At least 191 migrants have been reported dead or missing so far in 2024 trying to reach the Canary Islands, according to the International Organization for Migrations Missing Migrants Project.

But that number is believed to be an undercount.


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