A GIRL died during a helicopter flight to hospital after dozens of African migrants were rescued from a boat off the Canary Islands.

The five-year-old, who has not been named, died from cardiac arrest despite efforts by the emergency services to save her life, authorities said. 

One of the 36 passengers on a flimsy migrant boat was already dead when the boat was spotted by another ship around 200 nautical miles south of the island of Tenerife.

Spanish coastguards and the merchant ship brought the rest of the migrants to Tenerife on Wednesday after they had spent 17 days at sea. 

Most of those aboard the boat had left West Africa to make the dangerous trip in hope of a new life in Europe.

The Canary Islands have seen a surge in migrant arrivals since 2019 after tighter security in the Mediterranean saw a reduction in crossings from Africa. 

In 2020, over 23,000 migrants reached the Canary Islands, a rise of eight times the figure for 2019, according to Spanish government data. 

This year 5,734 migrants have made the dangerous journey from Western Africa to the Canary Islands, according to official data up to June 15.


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