MADRID, May 8 (Xinhua) -- A woman had confirmed dead, a child is still missing after an inflatable dinghy carrying immigrants across the Mediterranean Sea from North Africa to Spain overturned off the Spanish coast early Wednesday morning.
The Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) confirmed the tragic incident happened just meters from a beach at Conil de la Frontera in the province of Cadiz, southern Spain.
The Civil Guard reports that a large wave caused the dinghy to overturn "just a few meters" from the beach throwing the 24 occupants into the water.
Although Civil Guards were able to provide aid to the occupants, a woman lost her life, while a child was swept away and is still missing.
A "wide ranging search operation" involving rescue vessels, helicopters and members of the Civil Guard's Special Underwater Activity Group (GEAS) is currently underway.
The accident comes just five days after Spanish Maritime Rescue Services rescued over 200 immigrants who were attempting to cross from North Africa to Spain in seven different dinghies in an area off the south coast of Spain known as the "Alboran Sea".
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 55,206 immigrants crossed from North Africa to Spain in 2018, with 769 losing their lives in the attempt (three times more than the 223 who died attempting the crossing in 2017).
At their closest point, just 14 km separate the south of Spain from North Africa, making the country the easiest destination to reach for would be immigrants.