Eight migrants have died while travelling on a small open boat from Africa to the Spanish Canary Islands, the sea rescue service said on Sunday.
Authorities were able to take the other 54 passengers of the boat to safety, the service wrote on Twitter.
— 1-1-2 Canarias (@112canarias) November 14, 2021
The vessel had apparently been adrift without engine power for a week.
It was discovered late Saturday in the Atlantic, around 75 kilometres south of the Spanish island of Gran Canaria. The crew of a French yacht had spotted the boat and alerted the emergency services.
A sea rescue cruiser then picked up the survivors and the eight bodies, the Spanish agency said.
Three of the survivors were gravely ill and had to be helicoptered to hospital for treatment. Nine others needed medical treatment after arriving at the port of Arguineguin in south-western Gran Canaria.
It was not initially clear how long the boat had been at sea.
785 dead or missing
Despite the dangerous crossing, many people set off in small boats in a bid to reach EU soil by crossing the open Atlantic from Africa to the Canary Islands.
Since the beginning of the year, the United Nations has counted almost 17,500 migrant arrivals to the Canary Islands.
It is not known how many have died on the way.
The UN's Organization for Migration (IOM) has confirmed at least 785 dead or missing at sea from the beginning of the year until August.