AT least 140 migrants have died after a boat travelling to the Canary Islands from Senegal caught fire, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have announced.
According to local leaders, the boat caught fire among the vessel’s fuel drums mere hours after setting sail and sank near Saint-Louis on the north-west coast of Senegal.
The boat was carrying 200 people, but only 59 of the migrants were rescued alive after intervention from nearby fishermen and official boats from Senegal and Spain.
At least 20 bodies have been located so far.
EU Foreign Affairs chief Josep Borrell Fontelle said online: “Another tragedy at sea. Human traffickers taking advantage of despair are a scourge that we have to fight harder.”
Over 400 migrants have now lost their lives on the journey to the Canary Islands this year.
The tragic announcement comes just two days after four migrants, including two children, were killed when a migrant boat capsized in the Channel.
Authorities are concerned by the rising number of migrants arriving in the Canary Islands.
Over 1000 people seeking refuge on the island arrived within one 48-hour period earlier this month.