Coastguards rescue 124 migrants off Spain’s Canary Islands

By Thomson Reuters Mar 28, 2024 | 8:46 AM

By Borja Suarez

GRAN CANARIA, Spain (Reuters) – Spanish coastguards rescued 124 migrants, including young children and a person needing a wheelchair, from two wooden boats in the seas off the Canary Islands on Thursday.

One boat carrying 66 people was located 10 nautical miles south of Gran Canaria, Spain’s Red Cross said. The second, carrying 58 people including two women, was found nearby.

The EU border agency Frontex says the Atlantic route to the Canary Islands is currently the busiest route for irregular migration from West Africa into the European Union.

The number of people making the perilous journey between Jan. 1 and March 15, reached 12,393, compared with 2,178 during the same period last year, Spain’s Interior Ministry said this month.

The island group is around 100 miles (160 km) from West Africa at the closest point. All the migrants were taken to Gran Canaria.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley, Borja Suarez, Elena Rodriguez; Editing by Alison Williams)