Spain says it may have spotted missing migrant vessel

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The Spanish coast guard says it has found a boat that could be the missing vessel carrying about 200 migrants from Senegal that has been lost at sea for nearly two weeks.

The boat was located by a reconnaissance plane 71 miles (114km) south of Gran Canaria on Monday, and a rescue ship was on its way to assist the passengers, the maritime rescue service said.

The condition of the migrants was unknown.

The boat was one of three that left in late June from the village of Kafountine in Senegal’s region of Cassamance, home to a decades-long insurgency and located some 1,700 km (1,057 miles) from Spain’s Canary Islands.

Migrant aid group Walking Borders said on Sunday that the other two boats – one carrying about 65 people and the other with between 50 and 60 on board – had also been missing for about two weeks since they left Senegal to try to reach Spain.

The group said it had contacted authorities in Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco and Spain, urging them to search for the missing boats.

The Atlantic migration route, typically used by migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, is one of the world’s deadliest. At least 559 people died in 2022 in attempts to reach the Canary Islands, according to the U.N.’s International Organisation for Migration.

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