SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE – After an ordeal of nine days at sea in an inflatable boat that had gone adrift, 23 people were rescued. However, six other people on board did not make it. The survivors were taken care of by the Red Cross in Tenerife.
The boat was rescued during an emergency operation involving a helicopter and two lifeboats from the Canary Islands Coast Guard. Help for those on board arrived when the inflatable boat drifted about 23 miles southwest of the island of Tenerife. The 23 people on board the zodiac were “in very bad condition,” according to rescuers. It concerns 14 adult men, five women, and four minors from sub-Saharan African countries.
“At the moment we don’t have much information. However, there are reports that six people died during the journey … Nine days of travel in total is what they told us,” said the spokeswoman for the Red Cross team that received the passengers. RTVE.es.
El dispositivo de emergencias asistió anoche, en el Puerto de Los Cristianos, #Tenerife, a 23 migrantes que viajaban en una embarcación interceptada por @salvamentogob.
➡️Uno de sus ocupantes fue trasladado a un centro hospitalario por deshidratación leve.
— 1-1-2 Canarias (@112canarias) February 12, 2023
According to the information given to the press by aid organisation Caminando Fronteras, the inflatable boat with 29 people on board left from a point on the coast north of the city of Dakhla.
Four men and two women died on the journey. Furthermore, according to this NGO, the other people on board threw their bodies into the sea.
This rescue unfortunately came too late for six people on board. Moreover, it once again exposes the harsh reality of the Canary Route. The news also comes just a few days after February 6 anniversary. On that day, the ‘Tarajal Tragedy’ is commemorated. On February 6, 2014, 15 people died on Tarajal beach. They drowned trying to swim around the dike that separates Morocco from the autonomous Spanish city of Ceuta to enter Spain.
The 15 people who died that day were part of a group of between 200-300 people from sub-Saharan Africa trying to reach the Spanish coast. They encountered an operation consisting of dozens of agents from the Spanish Guardia Civil who fired rubber bullets at them and blocked their view with smoke canisters.