AN inflatable boat crammed with sub-Saharan migrants capsized 244 kilometres south of Gran Canaria, with 27 people believed to have drowned.

61 people were packed onto the inflatable craft and Maritime Rescue saved 34 of them at around 1.00 am on Tuesday.

Two of those rescued were children.

Authorities say they were six children among the missing, presumably deceased, group of 27.

The vessel was spotted by a patrol plane and merchant shipping in the vicinity was alerted.

A tanker spotted the boat and stayed in the area until the arrival of the Maritime Rescue ship, Calliope.

The inflatable had capsized before the Calliope arrived.

The last 24 hours has been busy for rescues with the Calliope picking up 39 people just after 6.00 pm from a boat 68 kilometres south of Maspalomas.

Eight kilometres further away, Calliope rescued a further 47 people less than an hour later.

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