Tue, February 17, 2009
World

Migrants die as boat capsizes

2009-02-17 06:32:38 GMT2009-02-17 14:32:38 (Beijing Time)  Reuters

INTRO: At least 21 African migrants, some of them children, die as they try to reach the Canary Islands in a wooden boat.

MOREINFO: Spanish coastguards have found the corpses of 21 immigrants, some of them children, off the coast of Lanzarote in the Atlantic after their boat sank. Six survivors were plucked to safety after their vessel capsized in the waters off the most northerly of the Canary Island chain.

SCRIPT:

A desperate attempt to flee a life of poverty ended in tragedy for this migrant.

He was among 21 North Africans to drown while attempting to sail to the Spanish Canary Islands.

The migrants perished when their overcowded boat sank on Sunday evening.

Their small wooden vessel capsized a few metres from the Lanzarote beach.

A number of children were among the dead.

Swimmers and surfers reportedly tried to reach the migrants as they struggled in rough waters.

Six people were rescued. Local reports suggest that some survivors ran off after making it ashore.

Spanish authorities usually try to deport migrants arriving illegally by sea, usually from West Africa but also from Morocco.

About 9,000 arrived in the Canaries last year.

Thousands more are believed to have died making the attempt.

Jim Drury, Reuters

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