At least two refugees died on a boat transporting more than 30 people after Canaries’ emergency service warned their condition was “much more serious” than the rest of the group.
Two refugees have died trying to reach Spain's Canary Islands on a boat transporting more than 30 people, the latest deadly incident involving the treacherous crossing.
The drifting vessel was towed on Wednesday to the port of Arguineguin on the island of Gran Canaria, where rescuers removed two bodies from the boat.
Previously, the Canaries' 112 emergency service had tweeted that two refugees had to be treated at sea as they were "in a much more serious state than the rest of the group", with one suffering from hypothermia and dehydration, and the other from an injury to the hand.
It was not clear where the boat had set off from, but Spain is one of the major gateways for refugees departing from North Africa seeking a better life in Europe.
The number of people attempting the sea crossing to the Canaries, an archipelago in the Atlantic off the coast of northwest Africa, has increased dramatically since late 2019 after checks on Mediterranean routes were tightened.
Spain's interior ministry says that 16,827 refugees have arrived there by sea between January and October 2021 – an increase of 44 percent from the same period in 2020.
But the route to the Canaries is particularly dangerous – since the beginning of the year, some 900 people have died attempting it, according to the International Organization for Migration.