Eight migrants were discovered deceased after a boat overturned off the coast of northern Senegal during an attempt to reach Europe, as confirmed by the government.

The fire department and navy retrieved the bodies, while a search for survivors has been initiated, stated Senegalese Interior Minister Felix Abdoulaye Diome on Thursday in the northern fishing city of Saint-Louis where the bodies were brought.

The director of the morgue in Saint-Louis, Mourtalla Mbaye, informed The Associated Press that approximately 155 individuals were aboard the boat, with many survivors sustaining injuries and currently receiving treatment in a military zone in the city.


Mbaye stated that six bodies of drowned men were delivered to the morgue. The number of survivors and those still missing remains unclear.

This incident follows the recent discovery of seven deceased individuals and the rescue of 50 others from a different vessel bound for Europe, found off the coast of Saint-Louis. At least 90 people from that boat are feared to be missing.

Furthermore, Spanish aid group Walking Borders announced that approximately 300 people went missing in late June when three boats departed from Senegal’s two different cities.

According to Walking Borders, the Atlantic migration route is one of the most perilous globally, with nearly 800 individuals either dying or going missing in the first half of 2023.

Africa Fox News graphic

A boat that was carrying approximately 155 people capsized near the coast of Senegal. Officials have initiated a search for survivors.  (Fox News)

In recent years, the Canary Islands have emerged as a favored destination for individuals attempting to reach Spain, with over 23,000 migrants arriving in 2020, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry. More than 7,000 migrants and refugees have reached the Canaries in the first six months of this year.

The majority of these boats originate from Morocco, Western Sahara, and Mauritania, with fewer coming from Senegal. However, the Spanish aid group has reported that at least 19 boats from Senegal have arrived in the Canary Islands since June.

Circumstances such as struggling economies, lack of employment opportunities, extremist violence, political instability, and the repercussions of climate change drive migrants to risk their lives on overcrowded boats in a quest to reach the Canaries. Last month in Senegal, at least 23 individuals were killed during weeks of protests between opposition supporters and police forces.


Ibnou Diagne boarded a boat from the Senegalese city of Mbour on July 2, hoping to secure better employment in Spain to support his family. The survivor, a 26-year-old, shared his account with the AP after being rescued and spoke from Saint-Louis.

“I wanted to improve my living conditions because it’s difficult here to find a job,” he expressed. In exchange for approximately $680, he joined around 150 others in a vessel bound for Spain.

Diagne recounted that the first few days of the journey were smooth, but then the boat ran out of fuel and water, getting lost between the border of Mauritania and Senegal. The passengers attempted to reach out to fishermen from their cities, Mbour and Saint-Louis, but there was no phone network available.

He stated that soon after, people began to lose their lives. The initial passenger who boarded the boat while sick passed away due to his illness, while others perished when the vessel broke apart after colliding with the mouth of the river.


“I witnessed a young boy dying, perhaps 15 or 16 years old, and I felt helpless. He was injured by a piece of wood,” Diagne recounted. “It was complete chaos.”

Fearing death on the sinking boat, many people jumped into the water and attempted to swim. While some passengers suggested throwing the deceased individuals overboard, the captain refused, according to Diagne.

The Senegalese gendarme rescued the boat from that location and brought it to Saint-Louis.

Despite the suffering and death he witnessed, Diagne expressed that if given another opportunity, he would board another vessel bound for Spain without hesitation.

“If I find another boat, I will try again,” he affirmed.

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