Three immigrants die in canoe off Canarys

9th March 2007, Comments 0 comments

9 March 2007, SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE – Three illegal immigrants died on a boat bound for the Canary Islands.

9 March 2007

SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE – Three illegal immigrants died on a boat bound for the Canary Islands.

Of the 49 on board, two others are seriously ill and the remaining 44 are en route to port aboard a rescue vessel, authorities said on Friday.

Coast guard officials told Efe that the canoe, known as a cayuco, was spotted 35 miles south of Tenerife by the cutter Conde de Gondomar on Thursday.

They said the two ailing migrants were taken by helicopter for treatment at hospitals.

The Canary Islands have become a favoured destination for African emigrants seeking to make it to Europe to look for work.

Illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa have increasingly opted for the sea route to the Canary Islands in the past two years, especially since Madrid tightened security around two Spanish enclaves in North Africa that were being used as a bridge into Europe.

The sea separating Africa from the Canary Islands has long been the scene of attempted crossings - some successful and others not - of people from African countries hoping to reach the coast of Spain in an effort to stay in that country or continue on to another European destination.

To make the trip, illegal immigrants crowd into small boats that take to the sea - almost always at night - and not infrequently sink due to the excess weight on board.

In 2006, 30,259 illegal immigrants arrived in the Canary Islands by sea, according to Spanish government figures.

The figure dwarfed that for the previous year.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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