More than 60 feared dead after a migrant boat is rescued in Atlantic

Dozens of migrants are feared dead after a boat that left Senegal with more than 100 people onboard over a month ago was rescued by the coast guard in Cabo Verde with just 38 survivors onboard, officials said.

The boat was rescued by the coast guard in Cabo Verde, about 385 miles off the coast of West Africa, on Tuesday after departing Senegal on July 10, a spokesperson for the United Nations International Organization of Migration said.

At least seven people were found dead, while 38 survivors were located, including several children, the spokesperson, Safa Msehli said.

Around 101 people were believed to be onboard the boat when it departed Senegal and the roughly 56 people still unaccounted for are presumed to have died, Msehli said.

The circumstances that the boat and its survivors were found in are still unclear, Msehli said. She said survivors were still recovering after being on the boat for over a month.

She also said it was not yet clear where exactly the boat was headed, though relatives of those who were on the boat said the vessel was headed for Spain.

The route from West Africa to Spain is one of the most dangerous journeys in the world and Msehli noted that the journey can be long and unpredictable.

The vessel was a large fishing boat, called a pirogue, AP reported, citing the Spanish migration advocacy group Walking Borders.

Nearly 1,000 migrants died while trying to reach Spain by sea in the first six months of 2023, the AP reported, citing data from Walking Borders.

That people continue to risk the route “signals the despair that people are feeling and the hopelessness for them to embark on these really dangerous journeys,” Msehli said.

Msehli noted that a number of factors, including extreme poverty, the impacts of climate change, conflict and violence push migrants and asylum seekers to make the perilous journey.

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