At least four migrants have died after a boat carrying around 35 people capsized when it smashed into the rocks in Orzola, off the northern coast of the Spanish island of Lanzarote, on Tuesday evening, emergency services said.
Twenty eight migrants of North African origin were rescued, the emergency service source added. Local media reported that 14 people are still missing, and the search will resume at first light.
The accident took place at 20:30 GMT, prompting a search and rescue operation which was subsequently called off late into the night and will resume on Wednesday morning.
There have also been reports of another boat carrying migrants approaching the Canary Islands.
Almost 17,000 people have reached the Canary Islands so far this year, more than 10 times last year’s total, after making the dangerous Atlantic crossing from North Africa. Although that is far from a peak of some 32,000 migrant arrivals in the Canaries in 2006, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation.
The Spanish government promised on Friday, November 20, to set up camps and shelters for 7,000 people in the Canary Islands, to manage a surge in migrant arrivals that has overwhelmed local authorities and left thousands sleeping in the open.