A SPANISH lifeboat found 17 people dead in a boat along with only three suvivors that had crossed from Africa towards the Canary Islands.

The migrants’ boat was spotted by an Air Force plane floating some 265 nautical miles from El Hierro and a helicopter sent to pick up the survivors. Two men and a woman were airlifted to hospital on Tenerife were they are said to be recovering.

“The three were suffering from hypothermia but are otherwise in good shape,” said a spokeswoman from the emergency services on the island.

A lifeboat from the coastguard was sent to retrieve the stricken vessel and the bodies of those who didn’t survive the journey.

The Canary Islands have seen a huge rise in the number of people making the perilous journey from Africa during the past year.

Some 3,400 migrants are thought to have arrived in the archipelago since January 1.

53 Immigrants Arrive Tenerife In Cayuco
Archive photo of a life boat during a rescue off the Canary Islands. Photo: Cordon Press

In 2020 at least 849 people were known to have died or gone missing trying to reach the Canaries while 23,000 reached their destination according to the U.N. migration agency’s Missing Migrants Project.

Authorities on the islands have set about creating large camps to hold the migrants until the can move them to the mainland or deport them back to their countries of origin.

But conditions in the camps have led to protests with those held there complaining that they were little better than ‘prisons’.


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