MADRID, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- The constant danger African migrants face when trying to make the sea crossing between North-Africa and Spain was once again highlighted on Thursday with the news that five lost their lives earlier the day.
Spanish Maritime Rescue services confirmed that the rescue vessel Guardamar Polimina pulled the bodies of four men and a woman from an area off the southeast coast of Spain known as the Sea of Alboran in the early hours of the morning during an operation which saw 107 migrants, including 2 children and 17 women, rescued and taken to the nearby port of Motril.
The five victims were attempting to make the dangerous crossing from Morocco to Spain in along with 56 others in a dinghy which was spotted by rescuers when it was already partially submerged with many of its occupants already in the water.
Maritime Rescue sources described the rescue as "complicated," explaining they had to throw life-rafts into the water for the migrants to attempt to hold onto before pulling them aboard to safety.
After rescuing the migrants from the first dinghy, the Guadamar Polimina then proceeded to the rescue of 51 more migrants from a separate dinghy which had been discovered by a Civil Guard aircraft in the same area.
The migrants were treated by the Red Cross on arrival at port, with some of them showing symptoms of hypothermia.
The news comes two days after the Spanish Interior Ministry confirmed that 28,620 African immigrants crossed from North Africa to Spain in a total of 1,168 dinghies during the first eight months of 2018; a 163 percent increase over the same period of 2017.
Meanwhile the United Nations agency for refugees, UNHCR estimates that 318 people either died or disappeared trying to make the crossing between January and July of this year, almost three times than of the 113 deaths registered a year ago.