2 dead, 2 missing as migrant boat sinks off Gibraltar

2 dead, 2 missing as migrant boat sinks off Gibraltar

MADRID, March 02, 2013 (AFP)

 Two people including a Moroccan rescuer died after a dinghy carrying illegal immigrants capsized in the Strait of Gibraltar, and two others remained missing Saturday, a maritime rescue spokesman told AFP.

Spanish rescuers located three of the five migrants who were on board the dinghy, one of whom had died, about five nautical miles from Tanger, Morocco.

The two survivors were suffering from severe hypothermia and were taken to Tarifa in southern Spain, rescuers said, adding that the search continued for the missing.

A Moroccan ferry that travels between Tanger and Tarifa had initially spotted the migrants’ boat and reported  “that five people had fallen into the water,” the spokesman said.

A member of the ferry crew died in an apparent attempt to help the migrants.

Attempts by Africans to reach the Spanish coast on makeshift boats and illegally enter Europe happen frequently and have increased in the past few months.

In October, at least 16 illegal migrants were found dead trying to reach Spain from Morocco.

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