Officials have reported the rescue of over 227 migrants near Spain’s Canary Islands on Thursday, a day after the tragic incident involving the reported deaths of over 30 migrants in the same area.
Emergency services have disclosed that the Coast Guard conducted the rescue operation after spotting the migrants traveling on inflatable boats close to the Lanzarote and Gran Canaria islands in the Atlantic Ocean.
Some of the rescued individuals were transferred to a hospital for treatment due to a “mild condition” they were experiencing. On Wednesday, two charitable organizations, Walking Borders and Alarm Phone, claimed that more than 30 migrants may have drowned when their dinghy sank off Gran Canaria. Spanish authorities confirmed the recovery of two bodies and the rescue of 24 individuals, while the charities asserted that there were approximately 60 people on board.
Helena Maleno Garzon from Walking Borders stated that 39 people, including four women and a baby, had drowned, while Alarm Phone mentioned that 35 individuals were missing. Both organizations monitor migrant boats and receive distress calls from those on board or their relatives.
During the incident, a Spanish rescue service ship, the Guardamar Caliope, was reportedly close to the dinghy but did not provide assistance as the Moroccan officials took over the operation. The Moroccan patrol boat arrived approximately 10 hours later, following the Spanish rescue plane’s initial sighting.
Angel Victor Torres, the leader of the Canary Islands region, labeled the incident a “tragedy” and urged the European Union to establish a migration policy that offers coordinated and supportive responses to address the migration issue.
Although geographically located off Africa’s western coast, the Canary Islands are part of Spain and serve as a destination for many migrants seeking to reach mainland Europe from Africa.