The Spanish Red Cross reports that 16 of the 23 people on board the boat off the island of El Hierro were also in “serious condition”.
At least four people were found dead on a migrant boat off the Canary Island of El Hierro on Sunday, the Spanish Red Cross said.
The vessel was spotted by a fishing boat about 193 km (120 miles) south of El Hierro, one of the smaller Canary Islands, according to local media.
A rescue operation was underway Sunday afternoon, with three helicopters deployed to transport the injured by air to safety.
The Red Cross said of the 23 people on the boat, 16 were in “serious condition” and three in better condition were flown to Tenerife. The four dead would be taken to El Hierro.
The number of undocumented migrants and refugees arriving in the Spanish Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean was more than eight times higher last year than in 2019, the effect of COVID-19 on tourism and others industries in North and Sub-Saharan Africa by pushing much more. at embark on the dangerous journey.
In 2020, 23,000 people arrived by boat in the archipelago while 850 people died or disappeared en route, according to the United Nations Migration Agency’s Missing Migrants Project.
Between January 1 and March 31 of this year, 3,400 people arrived in the Canaries, compared to less than half of that number over the same period in 2019.
Hundreds of people died or disappeared last year after attempting to cross the islands, often in rickety and overcrowded boats with unreliable engines, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said.
Since 2014, more than 20,000 migrants and refugees have died at sea trying to reach Europe from Africa. More than 17,000 of them were in the central Mediterranean, described by the UN as the most dangerous flyway in the world.