516 migrants rescued in the last 24 hours with 1 dead and 10 missing

  • Canarian Weekly
  • 06-06-2024
  • National
  • Photo Credit: 112 Canarias
516 migrants rescued in the last 24 hours with 1 dead and 10 missing

516 migrants have been rescued by Maritime Rescue services in the Canary Islands since yesterday afternoon (Wednesday), although the operation has not been without tragedy. One person has died in El Hierro Hospital, and between ten to twelve migrants are feared to have perished during the journey. In addition to this, five people, including a newborn baby, were airlifted to safety.

The rescue operation, involving five maritime rescue boats and the Helimer 201 helicopter, was a gruelling effort that continued throughout the night. The director of Maritime Rescue, José Luis García Lena, has expressed his gratitude for the tireless work of the Maritime Rescue teams who managed to save 516 lives.

The sequence of events began on Wednesday afternoon when the vessel "Ramform Atlas/Lart8" spotted a cayuco drifting 112 miles south of La Gomera. Two additional boats were later found nearby. The Maritime Rescue Centre in Tenerife dispatched Guardamar Urania, Salvamar Adhara, Guardamar Talía, and the Helimer 201 helicopter to the location given.

Guardamar Urania's crew rescued 190 people, including 15 women and 6 children, who were brought ashore at La Restinga (El Hierro) at 8:00am this morning (Thursday). Among them was a woman who was taken to the local hospital for treatment, while the Helimer helicopter had earlier airlifted a mother and her newborn baby who was reportedly born aboard the boat.

516 migrants rescued in the last 24 hours with 1 dead and 10 missing

According to the survivors, they had endured a nine-day journey from Nouakchott in Mauritania. The cayuco carried people from Guinea-Conakry, Senegal, Morocco, Mauritania, Comoros, Gambia, Mali, and Pakistan.

En route to Tenerife South Airport, the helicopter, which was transporting the mother and baby from the first cayuco, also picked up three more people from a second cayuco. This boat, carrying 67 people (62 men and 5 women) from Ghana, Senegal, Guinea-Bissau, and Mali, was in dire straits. The passengers reported that ten to twelve people had died during their thirteen-day voyage from Nouakchott, and have been reported missing.

The remaining occupants of the second cayuco were brought to La Restinga by Salvamar Adhara, arriving at 3:50am. Eight were taken to the island's hospital, where one later died.

Guardamar Talía rescued 160 people (152 men, 8 women, and one minor) from a third boat, that disembarked in Arguineguín, Gran Canaria, earlier this morning (Thursday).

At 11:00pm last night, the 112 emergency call centre notified Maritime Rescue of a distress call from a cayuco with 44 people (including 3 women and 2 children) drifting between Tenerife and La Gomera. Salvamar Mizar was mobilised and located them at 1:10am, rescuing all 44 occupants and transporting them to Los Cristianos, Tenerife, where they arrived at 4:00am.

Later in the morning, a fifth cayuco was detected by radar 9 miles southeast of Punto Rasca in the south of Tenerife. Its 55 male occupants managed to reach Los Cristianos on their own, escorted by Salvamar Menkalinan.

The Maritime Rescue operation continues as the authorities strive to ensure the safety and well-being of the rescued migrants amidst this humanitarian crisis.

516 migrants rescued in the last 24 hours with 1 dead and 10 missing