Spanish rescue boat finds bodies of five people

Spanish rescue boat has found the bodies of five would-be immigrants in waters 643 kilometers (400 miles) south of the Canary Islands, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

The hospital ship found the bodies late Tuesday after being alerted by fishing boats in the area, a spokesman said.

Also Tuesday, police reported they had caught more than 300 Africans trying to reach the Canary Islands, a single-day record, after long, dangerous trips in overcrowded boats that set out from Mauritania.

The bodies had life jackets and sailing clothes on them, the Canary Island Interior Ministry spokesman said. He was speaking on condition of anonymity as his office's ground rules forbid him from being identified.

They were thought to be from sub-Saharan countries, the spokesman said.

Thousands of Africans seeking a better life try to reach Europe by boat trips to Spain each year. Hundreds are believed to drown in the attempt.

The immigrant boats have traditionally set out from Morocco or the Western Sahara, sailing across the Strait of Gibraltar to the Spanish mainland or to the Canary Islands, off the coast of northwest Africa, reports the AP.


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