At least one person is dead and another 26 are missing in the Atlantic Ocean after a raft carrying migrants sunk 245 kilometers (152 miles) south of Spain’s Canary Islands on Monday,
according to the Spanish coastguard.
Of the 61 people believed to be on board, just 34 were rescued.
Those rescued have been picked up by the Guardamar Calíope ship, which was already carrying another 80 people from two previous rescue missions on the same migration route.
Helena Maleno Garzon, head of Walking Borders, a non-profit organization, said 13 women and six babies are among those presumed dead.
According to Spain’s Interior Ministry, 6,359 migrants have already reached the Canary Islands on rafts so far this year. That is up 60% from the same time last year.
The raft involved in Monday’s tragedy reportedly departed from Cape Bojador in Western Sahara, a disputed territory on the southern coast of Morocco.
Earlier this month, the Spanish government shifted its position on the autonomy of Western Sahara to help mend relations with Morocco and boost cooperation on limiting illegal migration.
Madrid now supports Morocco’s vision that the region could be an autonomous region under Moroccan sovereignty.