Canary Island Beach-Goers Rush to Aid African Migrants After Boat Runs Aground

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Sunbathers on a beach in Spain's Canary Islands came to the aid of 88 African migrants whose boat ran aground Sunday, giving them food, water and blankets after their dangerous trip in search of a new life, authorities said.

The boat was the last of three to arrive Sunday on the island of Tenerife, carrying a total of 205 travelers, some of them women and children.

CountryWatch: Spain

People on the beach were seen rushing to help the Africans with whatever they could provide until police and Red Cross officials arrived to attend to them. Some took the weakest among them to receive first aid in all-terrain vehicles they brought to the shore.

Thousands of migrants try to reach Spain's Canary Islands in the Atlantic each year, an increasing number of them setting off in boats from Mauritania and Moroccan-controlled Western Sahara. Many die during the long and dangerous crossings.

Nine died this week in the latest wave of arrivals.

Spain says more than 11,000 Africans from some of the continent's poorest countries have made the trip so far this year, double the total for all of 2005. More than 1,000 are reported to have died attempting the voyage since late last year.