Spanish rescue service finds 4 bodies and one survivor off Gran Canaria

by Lorraine Williamson
one survivor
del canto chambers 2

278 kilometres south of Gran Canaria, the Spanish rescue service has picked up a boat with four lifeless bodies and one survivor. It turned out to be sub-Saharan migrants who left Africa a week and a half earlier with 34 men. 

On September 24, the NGO Caminando Fronteras reported a distress call from a boat carrying refugees. After more than a week of radio silence, on October 2, the Spanish rescue service Salvamento Marítimo Miguel de Cervantes found a boat 278 kilometres south off the coast of Gran Canaria with a completely exhausted man of 27 years and four lifeless bodies. A few hours later it became clear that these were some people on board the boat that sent the emergency call a week ago. 

One of the 34 migrants survived the crossing 

The 27-year-old man from Ivory Coast appears to be the only survivor of the boat that departed from Western Sahara nine days earlier. A helicopter took the young man directly to Gran Canaria airport. From there he was taken to hospital by ambulance. He was conscious, but showed symptoms of hypothermia. 

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A total of 34 adult men from sub-Saharan countries were on board the boat in question. A first brief statement from the man shows that no one, except him, survived the crossing. Caminando Fronteras assumes that the 29 missing people on the original larger boat are no longer alive. “This is yet another tragedy in long history on one of the most dangerous migrant routes,” the director of Caminando Fronteras said. 

Tragedy again on one of the most dangerous migrant routes 

Since early 2022, nearly 11,500 people have attempted the crossing from Africa to the Canary Islands. According to the NGO, there are now 978 people who have not survived this crossing. However, the actual number will be much higher. Many people on board have to deal with the dangerous currents in the ocean during the crossing. 

Also read: 2021 most deadly year for immigrants sailing to Spain

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