A WOULD-BE migrant on a dinghy which had been lost at sea off the Canary Islands for over a week has died in hospital after being admitted in a critical condition, and another continues to fight for his life.
Coastguard workers had been tipped off about four boats heading for Gran Canaria from the port of Dakhla, Mauritania over a week ago, but they quickly lost trace of them.
They have been searching by sea and air for days to try to find the crafts.
One was located on Sunday night and the occupants, all sub-Saharan Africans of whom six were teenagers, were said to be suffering from hunger and dehydration due to nearly a week without food or water, and were literally soaked in petrol from the raft's engine.
Two of them had to be taken straight to intensive care and one of them has lost his life.
A second craft was found later on Sunday, around 10 miles south of Gran Canaria, carrying 42 people – nine women, six who may be children or teenagers, and 27 men – of whom over a third were suffering hypothermia, cuts and bruises, and broken bones.
Coastguard authorities continue to search for two other motorised dinghies – one which had set off from Dakhla with 56 passengers and another from Bountilla, Mauritania, with 28 people on board – both of which are said to have been heading for the Canary Islands, but have disappeared off the radar out at sea.