The latest shipwreck is one of the deadliest disasters this year among migrants trying to make the perilous journey to Europe.
At least 58 people are dead after a boat carrying dozens of migrants capsized in the Atlantic Ocean off the West African nation of Mauritania, the UN migration agency said on Wednesday. It said 83 people swam to shore.
The boat carrying at least 150 people had been low on fuel while approaching Mauritania, the UN agency said in a statement. It said survivors were being helped by Mauritanian authorities in the northern city of Nouadhibou.
Survivors said the boat, with women and children on board, had left Gambia on Nov. 27.
An unknown number of injured were taken to the hospital in Nouadhibou.
"The Mauritanian authorities are very efficiently coordinating the response with the agencies currently present in Nouadhibou," said Laura Lungarotti with the migration agency.
Mauritanian authorities say up to 57 people are dead after a vessel carrying migrants sank off its coast today. Survivors told IOM staff the vessel left The Gambia last Weds. with at least 150 people aboard. Help is being provided to 83 survivors by the government, IOM & UNHCR.— IOM - UN Migration (@UNmigration) December 4, 2019
There was no immediate statement from authorities in Gambia, a small West African nation from which many migrants set off in hopes of reaching Europe.
The coastal nation was shaken earlier this year by the collapse of British travel company Thomas Cook. At the time, Gambia’s tourism minister said the government convened an emergency meeting on the collapse, while some Gambians said the shutdown could have a devastating impact on tourism, which contributes more than 30 percent of the country’s GDP.
Despite Gambia’s small size, more than 35,000 Gambian migrants arrived in Europe between 2014 and 2018, according to the UN migration agency.