Spanish authorities located a migrant boat with three survivors and 17 dead bodies floating near the Canary Islands this week, according to reports.
The vessel was found adrift roughly 300 miles to the southeast of El Hierro, the southernmost island of the archipelago, which lies off the coast of Morocco.
Three adults aboard the cayuco - a canoe-like vessel offering virtually no protection from the elements - were airlifted to El Hierro to receive medical attention.
"The cayuco was located this morning by an Air Force Search and Rescue Service (SAR) plane that was scouring the area for possible vessels in a stretch of the Atlantic where they are beginning to be out of route and exposed to being swept by the wind and currents offshore," El Diario reported on Monday.
"The number of 17 dead confirmed for the moment makes this cayuco the greatest tragedy on record in the Canary Islands since August last year, when the Civil Guard located another similar barge with fifteen corpses on board, without any survivors, about 200 kilometers south of Gran Canaria."
All of the survivors were identified as Sub-Saharan Africans.
"The three had hypothermia but were otherwise in good shape," a spokeswoman told AFP.
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