Woman's body found as Spanish rescuers save 173 migrants

Rescuers were helping a vessel carrying migrants to the Canary Islands

Spain's coastguard retrieved the body of a female migrant from waters off the Canary Islands on Tuesday as they pulled 173 other migrants to safety, a spokeswoman said.

It was not immediately possible to say where she came from because her body appeared to have been in the water for "quite a few days", the spokeswoman for Salvamento Maritimo said.

The coastguard crew were heading out to rescue a migrant boat carrying 52 people when they found the woman's body.

Throughout the day, they picked up another three boats carrying more than 100 migrants, taking the number of people rescued on Tuesday to 173, the spokeswoman.

In the first 10 months of 2021, 16,827 migrants have reached Spain's Canary Islands by boat, a 44 per cent increase on the 11,659 that arrived in the same period last year, Interior Ministry figures showed on Tuesday.

Migrant arrivals on the Canaries have surged since late 2019 after increased patrols along Europe's southern coast dramatically reduced crossings of the Mediterranean to the continent.

The shortest route to the islands is more than 100 kilometres from the Moroccan coast, but it is notoriously dangerous because of strong currents.

Many more people travel much greater distances, setting sail in rickety boats.

Updated: November 3rd 2021, 12:55 AM