Canary Islands: 2-Year-Old Illegal Immigrant Rescued From Boat Dies

Canary Islands: 2-Year-Old Illegal Immigrant Rescued From Boat Dies
A child rescued by Spanish maritime authorities stand with a group of migrants on a rescue vessel as they arrive at Malaga port, Spain, on Feb. 11, 2020. (Jesus Merida/AP Photo)

BARCELONA, Spain—A 2-year-old girl from Mali who was rescued from a boat carrying illegal immigrants near Spain’s Canary Islands and hospitalized in critical condition has died, health authorities said.

The toddler suffered cardiac arrest and was resuscitated by emergency workers on the dock of Arguineguin upon arrival Tuesday. She was being treated at a pediatric hospital in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria but died Sunday, a spokeswoman with the local health department said.

The victim was initially identified as Nabody, but the Canary Islands health department and the Spanish government’s delegation in the archipelago confirmed Monday that the deceased child had a different name and that another toddler called Nabody is among 12 minors who are recovering at a local hospital. They said 11 adults also remain hospitalized, one of whom is in critical condition.

The girl was among 52 people who departed from Dakhla on the Western Sahara coast and spent five days in the Atlantic Ocean before Spain’s Maritime Rescue Service saved the group. Many of the passengers, who included 29 women and nine children, suffered from severe hypothermia and required hospital care.

The child’s dramatic rescue made the front pages of several Spanish newspapers, highlighted the plight of West Africans facing violence in their home country, and the dangers facing those who choosing to seek better lives in Europe.

“There are no words to describe so much pain. Heartfelt thanks to those who have fought to the end to save her life,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez tweeted. “It is a knock on the conscience of all of us.”

Around 2,600 people have survived the dangerous Atlantic crossing and reached the Canaries by boat so far this year.

In 2020, some 23,000 people successfully crossed while 849 were reported dead or missing according to the U.N.’s migration agency’s Missing Migrants Project.

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