Scores of migrants who swam through rough Atlantic Ocean waters to safety from a capsized boat while 58 others drowned were receiving care Thursday in Mauritania after one of the deadliest disasters this year among people making the perilous journey to Europe.
The boat that left Gambia a week ago had been carrying at least 150 people, including women and children. It was headed toward Spain’s Canary Islands when it tried to approach the Mauritanian coast to get fuel and food, Laura Lungarotti, chief of mission in the West African nation with the U.N. migration agency, told The Associated Press.
“Many drowned. The ones who survived swam up to the Mauritanian coast close to the city of Nouadhibou,” she said. “The Mauritanian authorities are very efficiently coordinating the response with the agencies currently present” in the northern city.
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At least 83 people swam to shore, the agency said, while Mauritanian authorities said security forces found 85 survivors. Interior Minister Mohamed Salem ould Merzoug said 10 people were taken to a hospital for “urgent” treatment.