Sunday, November 27, 2005

22 refugees feared dead in Spanish tragedy

As many as 22 Africans are feared dead off Spain's southern coast in the latest tragedy involving refugees trying to reach Spain by boat.

The victims were tossed into rough seas during a storm, according to coast guards who found the boat off the coast of Almeria province, Spanish radio reported.

Two maritime rescue ships were searching for missing passengers today, although the chances of survival in the icy waters were said to be slim.

The wooden boat, which set out from Morocco with about 44 African nationals, 36 men and eight women, was sighted by a freighter yesterday after the passengers used a mobile phone to call for help.

Survivors said the boat was hit by a giant wave which washed 22 people overboard. The body of one man has been found.

About 19 African would-be migrants drowned in a similar incident off the Canary island of Fuertevenura in October.

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