One dead, seven missing after migrant boat sinks off Spain

12th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

A would-be illegal immigrant drowned and seven others are missing after their small boat capsized off eastern Spain, maritime rescue services said Thursday.

Ten immigrants of Algerian origin were on the boat that sank Wednesday off the tiny Spanish island of Tabarca, near the eastern city of Alicante, sources in the maritime rescue service said.

Two of them were rescued while the body of a third was recovered. The search continued for the seven others.

The service also said in a statement that it had rescued 25 men of Algerian origin travelling in a boat off the southeastern coastal town of Mojacar, and a further 10 migrants in two boats near the southern town of Tarifa.

It said that all those rescued appeared to be in good health.

Spain has been a magnet in recent years for African migrants aspiring to reach Europe. Authorities fear many of those who attempt the crossing by sea die of thirst, hunger or exposure.

But the number arriving by sea last year fell by 45 percent compared with 2008, according to the government.

It attributed the fall to the economic crisis in Spain as well as better policing of the waters around the country and cooperation with the immigrants' countries of origin in sub-Saharan Africa.

© 2010 AFP

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