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52 migrants feared dead at sea off south of Spain's Canary Islands-sole survivor rescued in Atlantic

A woman was spotted in a poor state by a passing merchant ship and emergency services flew her to safety. She was the only person pulled from a sinking dinghy in the Atlantic Ocean who told her rescuers that the boat had left Africa a week earlier carrying 53 migrants, Spain's Maritime Rescue Service said Friday.

The woman was clinging to the sinking craft with a dead man and a dead woman next to her. She told that the boat had embarked from the Western Sahara coast and that the passengers were from Ivory Coast.

More than 8,000 migrants have reached Spain's Canary Islands this year.

Many of them set off from a stretch of coastline between Tarfaya in Morocco and Laayoune in Western Sahara, a disputed territory claimed by Morocco.

The route has become increasingly popular as migrant passages to Europe through the Mediterranean have become harder to take. However, the human rights group Walking Borders has described it as the world's most dangerous migration route.

The UN's International Organisation for Migration reported that at least 250 migrants died on the route to the Canary Islands in the first six months of 2021. Migrants rights group Walking Borders counted almost 2000 deaths in the same period.

The woman rescued on Thursday was taken to hospital suffering from severe dehydration.

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