MADRID, March 31 (Xinhuanet) -- At least 13 people died after a boat with 23 illegal immigrants on board became lost and drifted at sea for a week off Spain's Canary Islands, rescue services said Thursday.
The Spanish coastguard said the group, all believed to be sub-Saharan Africans, had drifted at sea for a week without food or water.
Rescuers located 12 dead bodies at sea after their makeshift boat was spotted by a fishing vessel some 240 km off the island of Hierro, the most southwesterly of the island chain in the North Atlantic.
Another passenger died shortly after being picked up and the survivors were in a "poor state," said rescue officials.
Recent years have seen a surge in illegal immigrants trying to reach Spain by sea, most of them from North Africa and Latin America, and the Canary Islands and the Strait of Gibraltar are their favored routes. Enditem