A boat carrying migrants broke down on a journey from Morocco to Europe and drifted for days before sinking off Spain’s Canary Islands, leaving 52 people dead.
Among the fatalities were 16 women and a 2-year-old child, Helena Maleno Garzon of the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras said.
The only survivor, who was picked up by the Spanish coastguard, said the inflatable boat had left from “somewhere in Morocco” with 53 people on board. It had been drifting helplessly in the sea for six days.
The boat sank about 250 kilometres off the Canary Islands. The Spanish authorities did not release any information at first, but confirmed the facts in the case.
Only two bodies have been recovered so far, those of a pregnant 20-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy.
The search for the rest of the bodies continues, authorities said.
The survivor, a citizen of Ivory Coast, is extremely weak and has been taken to hospital in Gran Canaria.
Caminando Fronteras recently reported that in the first six months of this year alone, at least 2,087 migrants have died trying to reach Spain by sea, almost as many who died at sea in the whole of last year.