The search for 23 people, including seven babies, who were washed off a migrants’ boat by stormy seas has been called off.
The 33-foot boat had set off from Morocco on Thursday (December 4) packed full of African immigrants but it soon ran into trouble.
A search and rescue mission launched by Spanish and Moroccan authorities the same day failed to find them and it was not until Friday that a passing merchant ship alerted the authorities to the location of the boat 23 nautical miles off Almeria’s Cabo de Gata.
In total 28 people were rescued including eight pregnant women. One of those and a baby were airlifted to hospital in a serious condition while many of the others were treated by the Red Cross for hypothermia and severe anxiety attacks.
The rescued migrants told Spanish Guardia Civil and maritime rescue services that there were as many as 59 people on board when they left. That figure has been revised downwards to leave 23 still missing.
An air and sea search continued through Saturday and Sunday before finally being called off today (Monday December 8).