280 migrants arrived in the Canary Islands on a single boat, via one of the most dangerous migration routes in the world. Emergency services are reporting this. This is the largest number of migrants ever to arrive on a single boat.
The migrants, including ten minors, are of sub-Saharan origin. They were captured by sea rescuers after they ended up near the port of La Restinga, on the island of El Hierro.
Five hundred people arrived in El Hierro on Tuesday alone, a large number for the small, westernmost Canary Island. Emergency services also reported one ship with 127 people on board and one with 79 people on board.
Spain, especially the Canary Islands off the African coast, is one of the main gateways for migrants seeking to enter Europe illegally.
Between January 1 and September 30, 14,976 migrants arrived in the Canary Islands, an increase of almost 20 percent compared to the same period last year, according to figures from the Spanish Ministry of the Interior.
The migration route to the Canary Islands has been used increasingly in recent years due to stricter controls in the Mediterranean. It is very dangerous to cross this route and many ships are lost along the way.
Since the beginning of the year, 140 migrants have died or disappeared along the way, according to official figures issued by the International Organization for Migration. However, the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras, which relies on emergency calls from the sea or from relatives of migrants, reported 778 people killed or missing in the first six months of the year.
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