At least forty-five migrants died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Spain, a Spanish rights activist said on March 15th, quoting survivors. Morocco reported that at least 21 other migrants were rescued at sea.
Helena Maleno, who runs the Tangiers-based group Walking Borders, said she based her figure on accounts from seven female survivors of the smuggling boat that floundered and took on water on March 13th, according to AP.
"Survivors told me they had about 13 women on board. Many were pregnant," Maleno said by telephone. "There was also one young girl, between 12 and 14 years old, who didn't survive."
The information was not immediately confirmed by Morocco. A Moroccan official said the Royal Marines rescued at least 21 migrants on March 14th, a day after their rubber dinghy floundered. One body was recovered, he said, but he was unaware of the total number of dead. The official, who had information about the sinking, wasn't authorised to discuss it. He said the migrants, all sub-Saharans, were in a critical state when pulled from the water north of Nador.
Spain's Maritime Rescue Service said it had offered Moroccan authorities logistical help in the search and rescue operation on March 13th and 14th.