By John Ensor •
Updated: 05 Dec 2023 • 8:10
Stock image of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
In a daring late-night operation, a British merchant vessel successfully rescued 54 individuals from a near-fatal journey near Gran Canaria.
The survivors later disembarked at Las Palmas de Gran Canaria in the early hours of Friday, December 1. The rescue marked a crucial intervention in what could easily have become a disastrous situation, reports El Pais.
The vessel, Harland Point, was originally bound for the United Kingdom but changed course to assist an inflatable boat struggling 185 kilometres south of Gran Canaria.
Onboard the endangered boat were ten women, several expectant mothers among them, together with three children, all exposed to the treacherous seas.
The boat which was on the brink of capsizing, was first sighted on Thursday at 11:15. Spanish authorities responded by dispatching Salvamar Macondo from Arguineguin.
However, escalating sea conditions and the boat ‘taking on water’ prompted the Harland Point crew to initiate a rescue, fearing that the Maritime Rescue would not arrive in time.
Tragically, ta female passenger did not survive the crossing, her body left behind in the inflatable. The Harland Point shifted course to Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, disembarking the survivors.
Many showed symptoms of severe hypothermia which required immediate medical attention. Notably, three pregnant women were among those rescued, with one evacuated by the Helimer 204 rescue helicopter to Gran Canaria Airport due to her stable yet critical condition.
Upon arrival at the Port of La Luz and Las Palmas, health services promptly transported seven survivors, predominantly women and children, to hospitals for treatment of various serious conditions.
This incident underscores a growing humanitarian crisis in the Canary Islands. The region has seen an unprecedented influx of sea arrivals, with the last week of November alone accounting for almost 1,800 people reaching the islands in unstable boats.
The total number of arrivals this year has surpassed 34,600, a staggering 132 per cent increase from 2022. The primary cause of this surge is attributed to a rise in departures from Senegal.
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Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina.
He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.
How many more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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