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Two migrants including a child found dead off the coast of Spain's Canary Islands

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By Euronews  with AFP, EFE
NGOs say the number of women and children trying to reach the Canary Islands is increasing.
NGOs say the number of women and children trying to reach the Canary Islands is increasing.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Javier Fergo, File

Two people, including a four-year-old child, have died on board a migrant vessel off the coast of the Canary Islands.

Spanish rescue services said the migrants' bodies were found on Thursday on board the inflatable boat near the island of Lanzarote.

A total of 51 people had boarded the makeshift boat from the African coast in an effort to reach Europe. A further 27 migrants were found on another vessel nearby.

One other person was evacuated by helicopter because  they were "suffering from chest pain," authorities told AFP.

NGOs say the number of women and children trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean to the Canary Islands is increasing.

So far this year, 9,308 migrants have arrived in the Spanish archipelago -- 27% more than in the same period in 2021, according to the Spanish Interior Ministry.

According to the NGO Caminando Fronteras, 4,404 migrants died or disappeared last year at sea while trying to reach Spain, twice as many as in 2020.

Last year, more than 40,000 migrants in total successfully reached Spanish waters.