At least four people were found dead on a migrant boat off the Canary Islands on Sunday, the Spanish Red Cross said.
The bodies were recovered by the Spanish authorities from the ship along with 19 survivors.
The migrants had tried to travel the dangerous route from West Africa to the Canary Islands in a boat that was not suitable for the high seas.
Rescue services responded to an alarm call from a fishing boat that had located the boat just 120 miles south of the small island of El Hierro.
Helicopters airlifted those in serious condition and dehydrated to the island of Tenerife.
In recent years, the crossing of the Atlantic from the west coast of Africa to the Canary Islands of Spain has become an important step for undocumented migrants and refugees.
There were record arrivals in 2020, more than eight times more than in 2019, as the COVID-19 pandemic flattened Africa’s tourism economy and forced many more to undertake the risky journey.
According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, hundreds of people have died or disappeared in their attempt to reach the archipelago in crowded and poorly equipped boats.
Since 2014, the Missing Migrants Project reports that more than 20,000 migrants have died trying to reach Europe from Africa.
From January 1 to March 31 this year, an estimated 3,400 migrants have reached the shores of the Canary Islands, according to Al Jazeera.
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