More than 60 feared dead as migrant boat carrying kids as young as 12 capsizes off Cape Verde while heading to Spain | The Sun

AT least 60 migrants are feared dead after a packed boat headed for Spain capsized.

The vessel set off from Senegal, West Africa, more than a month ago with more than 100 people on board – including kids as young as 12.

Senegal's foreign affairs ministry said the boat was rescued on Tuesday with 38 survivors and several dead on board 385 miles off the coast of the Atlantic Island of Cape Verde.

Footage showed survivors, including four children aged between 12 and 16, being helped ashore – some on stretchers.

The Spanish migration advocacy group Walking Borders said the vessel was a large fishing boat, called a pirogue, which had left Senegal on July 10 with more than 100 migrants on board.

Families in the town of Fass Boye had reached out to Walking Borders after 10 days without hearing from loved ones on the boat, group founder Helena Maleno Garzn said.

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Cheikh Awa Boye, president of the local fishermen's association, said he has two nephews among the missing.

They wanted to go to Spain, Boye said.

The route from West Africa to Spain is one of the world's most dangerous, yet the number of migrants leaving from Senegal on rickety wooden boats has surged over the past year.

Almost 1,000 migrants died while trying to reach Spain by sea in the first six months of 2023, Walking Borders says.

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On August 7, the Moroccan navy recovered the bodies of five Senegalese migrants and rescued 189 others after their boat capsized off the coast of Western Sahara.

It comes after four alleged people smugglers were charged with manslaughter following the drowning of at least six UK-bound migrants in the English Channel.

Paris prosecutors on Wednesday evening said that the defendants were being remanded in custody until a criminal trial could be organised.

All were said to be involved in the disaster last Saturday morning which saw a punctured dinghy overturn in the sea, flinging some 60 people overboard, close to Sangatte, in northern France.

Many did not have lifejackets on, despite paying the equivalent of around £1,000 each for an illegal passage to Britain.

The accused have not yet been identified by name, but are described as two Iraqis, both aged 43, and two men from Sudan, aged 29 and 17.

They were indicted for "manslaughter", "participation in a criminal association", and "causing unintentional injuries".

The Iraqis are specifically suspected of "organising the transfer of migrants on a makeshift boat for remuneration", a spokesman for the Paris prosecutor's office told France Info, the country’s public service broadcaster.

The Sudanese men are meanwhile accused "of having actively participated in the transport of passengers in dangerous conditions in return for a preferential rate on their own passage".

This effectively means that the Sudanese wanted to immigrate to Britain, and kept costs down by helping to smuggle others into the country.

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The bodies of all those confirmed dead are still being examined at the Lille Forensic Institute, and two men officially remain missing at sea.

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