50 migrants rescued from drifting boat off Malaga

50 migrants rescued from drifting boat off Malaga
Stock image of a boat used by migrants to cross from Morocco. Photo: AFP
Spain's coast guard said it rescued on Wednesday 49 migrants from an overcrowded boat adrift in the Mediterranean for nearly two days after it left North Africa headed for Europe.

A helicopter spotted the stricken vessel in waters offshore near Malaga after the alarm was raised by an charity, Caminando Fronteras (Walking Across Borders), a spokesman for the coast guard said.

Another boat with 58 African migrants that rescuers had been looking for since Tuesday was believed to have arrived in Morocco, according to the group, the spokesman said.

In the first five months of this year, more than 8,000 migrants have reached Spain by boat, figures given early this month by the interior ministry showed.

That was seven percent fewer than for the same period last year.   

The UN migration agency, the International Organization for Migration, says that in crossings across the whole of the Mediterranean, 543 migrants have died, with 166 of them perishing on the route towards Spain.

Last year, the figure was 2,299 while in 2017, 3,139 died.

READ MORE: Spain restores free healthcare for illegal migrants

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