Two tragic stories of the desperate struggle of Africans trying to reach the Canary Islands have recently come to light. The first tragedy occurred 13 days ago when a small boat carrying immigrants from Senegal and Guinea Bissau broke in half in the middle of the voyage.
Only 10 people were rescued by a fishing boat and according to information given by the survivors the boat they had been travelling in was carrying up to 160 passengers. It is thought that the other 150 passengers must have died in the accident.
The survivors were first picked up by a Spanish fishing vessel which then transferred then onto a Mauritian fishing boat.
The second tragedy occurred when a Spanish fishing boat rescued an immigrant from a boat that was also trying to reach the canary islands. José María Abreu the captain of the fishing boat said that they approached what appeared to be an empty boat. He said as they drew nearer it appeared to be a scene from hell and there was a terrible stench of decomposing bodies.
Abreu said between sobs that there were seven bodies and one survivor who only had the strength to lift his hand. It is thought that at least 7 people died in this accident although another 50 are missing. Apparently the boat had run out of petrol when it went off course to try and avoid coast guards off the African coast.
Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba, the Spanish Home Secretary, confirmed that the Spanish fishing vessel the Tiburón III, captained by Abreu had rescued one man from a vessel off Cabo Verde.
According to the only survivor the boat had been carrying at least another 50 passengers.