AUTHORITIES in Spain have confirmed that a child who was among a boatful of migrants rescued off Gran Canaria on Sunday did not survive the journey.

Spain’s Maritime Rescue service were called to a boat carrying dozens of people found drifting some 185km southwest of Gran Canaria on Sunday.

Two adults and six children were airlifted to hospital for urgent medical attention but one child did not survive, Canary Island authorities confirmed in a tweet.

The lifeboat transported the remaining 40 or so people to port in Arguineguin.  

Jose Antonio Rodriguez from the Red Cross said the rescued migrants had been at sea for eight days after setting off from Dakhla, in the Western Sahara.

Official figures show that 14,720 people made the dangerous trip from the west African coast to the Canary Islands between January and mid-October this year, which represents an  83% increase compared to the same period last year, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry.

Authorities estimate that nearly 900 people have officially died or gone missing on the journey, but the true number is likely to be far higher.

Spain’s migrant rights NGO Walking Borders reports that it counted nearly 2,000 deaths on the Atlantic route during the first six months of the year.

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