MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish rescue teams said they had called off their search for more than 20 migrants who fell off their boat into the Mediterranean on Friday.
Around 30 others, including a pregnant woman and eight children, were rescued after the vessel got into trouble south of Almeria, and emergency crews carried on looking for the missing until Sunday night, officials said.
“We took the decision (to call the search off) after three very intensive days of searching without finding anyone,” a source at the rescue services said.
The migrants, traveling from Morocco, went overboard after the vessel’s engine cut out, a Red Cross volunteer told newspaper El Pais on Sunday.
“The immigrants say there were big waves, the engine cut out, and people started getting restless, and that, as fights broke out, they fell into the water,” the volunteer said.
Tens of thousands of migrants make the dangerous journey from North Africa to Europe every year, often in crowded, unseaworthy boats. Hundreds die in the attempt.
Reporting By Sonya Dowsett, additional reporting by Sarah Morris