1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Child found dead after dinghy sinks off coast of Africa

June 21, 2023

Dozens of people are feared to have died after small boat that may have been carrying more than 60 migrants sank off Morocco. An NGO has said the passengers were left for 12 hours after calling rescue services.

https://p.dw.com/p/4SuI7
The Atlantics coast on the Canary Island of Tenerife
The migrants in the boat were most likely trying to get to one of the Canary Islands, with is part of the territory of EU member state SpainImage: Robert Jank/Zoonar/picture alliance

Two people, including a child, were found dead after a rubber dinghy carrying people trying to migrate from Morocco to Spain sank, Spain's Maritime Rescue service said on Wednesday.

Some 24 people were also rescued, but Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras (Walking Borders) said that over 60 people were on board at the time, adding that more than 30 were still missing.

Dozens stranded for hours after calling for help

Spanish rescuers said they received a call from the boat on Tuesday evening, but it was not until early Wednesday that the 24 were rescued by a merchant ship that was in the area after Morocco assumed responsibility for the operation.

The body of a man was found by the ship while the body of the child was found by a Spanish helicopter.

The Spanish rescue service responded to the distress call by dispatching a plane from the Canary Islands.

It found the boat some 70 kilometers (44 miles) off the northwest coast of Africa and 160 kilometers south of the islands. But it saw no problems with the boat, a spokesperson told the Associated Press.

Helena Maleno, the founder of Caminando Fronteras, said that passengers were left without help for 12 hours.

She also said that 39 people had died, including four women and a baby, but this could not be immediately verified.

The Atlantic coast of Africa is one of several migrant routes into Europe, but its strong currents make it particularly perilous.

The sinking of the dinghy on Wednesday comes just days after at least 83 people died — although the true number may be in the hundreds — when a boat taking them from Libya to Italy capsized in the Mediterranean.

Greek coast guard criticized for failing to help

ab/rt (AP, AFP)