MADRID (AFP) – At least three people died, including a woman believed to be pregnant, and another five were missing after a migrant boat overturned off Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, rescuers said yesterday.
The vessel was carrying 49 people when it hit a rocky area just off the island’s northern shores, with rescuers pulling 41 people to safety, emergency services said.
“Three people died, among them two women, one of whom we believe was pregnant,” Head of Lanzarote’s Emergency Services Enrique Espinosa told AFP. “We believe there were 49 people on the boat. We found 44 – 41 of whom were alive, and three of whom were dead. We are searching for five people, one female minor and four males.”
Among the survivors were 20 men, 17 women, two children and two babies, the emergency services said. The boat overturned close to the shore near Orzola, a village on the northern tip of the island, in a dangerous area to navigate, he said.
The incident happened late on Thursday when there were a lot of people out in the streets who all rushed to help. Espinosa said the migrants were sub-Saharan Africans who told rescuers they had set off two days ago from the Moroccan town of Tantan, which lies 250 kilometres east of Lanzarote.
Rescue efforts resumed early yesterday but were being hampered by rough sea conditions, he said.