SANTA CRUZ DE TENERIFE, Canary Islands – At least 20 migrants drowned when their boat split while sailing from Africa to Spain's Canary Islands, survivors told police Thursday.
The seven adults and four children were picked up by a South African ship some 120 miles south of the Canary Islands and brought to a port on Gran Canaria island overnight.
The migrants, all believed to be from northwest Africa, told police there had been 31 people in their boat before the accident.
Police said they were investigating the claim, but had no way to immediately confirm the survivors' account.
More than 24,000 migrants have been caught trying to reach the Canary Islands this year. Most have sailed from west Africa in crowded open boats, many perishing en route.
Others have tried to reach the country's southern coast by crossing the Mediterranean from north Africa, with most apprehended at sea.