Immigrant boat capsizes near Spain

Coast guard searching for 50 Africans after boat overturns near the Canary Islands.

    Thousands of Africans make the dangerous
    journey to the Canary Islands every year

    The accident occurred "owing to poor conditions at sea amid three-metre waves and winds gusting at 30 knots," the official said.

    Perilous journey

    The capsized boat was a wooden craft known in Spain as a "cayuco". Often brightly painted, they are powered by outboard motors and their bare hulls offer little shelter to occupants who sometimes die of hypothermia.

    "We're talking about a very fragile craft," said Joan Mesquida, the director general of the Spanish police, explaining how survivors were plucked from the sea.

    Spanish authorities estimate 31,200 immigrants, mainly from sub-Sahara Africa, arrived in the Canary Islands last year more than three times the previous annual record.

    More than 250 would-be immigrants have reached the islands since Sunday alone, with some 4,700 making it since January, despite tighter surveillance of the African coastline in recent months by the EU border patrol agency, Frontex.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    'We scoured for days without sleeping, just clothes on our backs'

    The Philippines’ Typhoon Haiyan was the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Five years on, we revisit this story.

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    How Moscow lost Riyadh in 1938

    Russian-Saudi relations could be very different today, if Stalin hadn't killed the Soviet ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

    Unification: Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem

    Unification: Saladin and the Fall of Jerusalem

    We explore how Salah Ed-Din unified the Muslim states and recaptured the holy city of Jerusalem from the crusaders.