Senegal smuggling boat sinks leaving one dead, 11 rescued and 48 people remain missing off the coast of Senegal, the latest tragedy in a country where untold thousands have tried to migrate to Europe by sea.

Members of the Red Cross tend to would-be immigrants upon their arrival in Tazacorte, on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma, on June 30, 2014.
Members of the Red Cross tend to would-be immigrants upon their arrival in Tazacorte, on the Spanish Canary Island of La Palma, on June 30, 2014. (AFP)

The Senegalese navy was carrying out a search and rescue mission after a boat carrying about 60 migrants capsized earlier in the week, according to a military statement and a local official.

The boat flipped over about 15 kilometres (nine miles) off the northern city of Saint-Louis, said the official, who asked not to be identified. The accident happened on Wednesday night, the navy statement said.

Those on board were trying to reach Spain, naval spokesman Ameth Sow told local TV.

Senegal is a popular jumping-off point for migrants trying to make the hazardous journey to the Spanish-owned Canary Islands -- a gateway to the European Union.

The navy "rescued 11 people, including eight Senegalese and three Gambians, and recovered a lifeless body," the navy statement on Friday said.

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The search is being conducted with the Spanish Guardia Civil, it said.

Senegal receives assistance from the EU for its efforts to control illegal migration.

Would-be migrants often try to reach the Canary Islands by canoe.

The International Organisation for Migration reported 140 deaths in a single shipwreck off the coast of Senegal at the end of October 2020, a figure disputed by the Senegalese government.

READ MORE: At least 170 migrants found dead in Mediterranean this week

Source: AFP