Friday, 1 December 2023, 09:36
Four migrants drowned on Wednesday after being literally thrown overboard from a so-called people smugglers’ "taxi boat" in front of Camposoto Beach, near Punta del Boquerón, San Fernando, Cadiz. Another 23 migrants who were travelling on the same boat managed to survive the strong currents, although at least three were treated for hypothermia.
The tragedy occurred at around 1.30pm in a dangerous area of eddies and currents, which was also experiencing a storm surge at the time the traffickers ejected their cargo of 27 migrants. Various citizens, members of a windsurf club and the staff of a nearby nautical company rushed to assist in small boats. Survivors have been taken to a temporary care centre for foreigners (CATE). The people smugglers evaded the Guardia Civil.
The incident, captured on video in front of shocked onlookers, comes as another 'landing' of migrants from another taxi boat almost ended in tragedy on the same day on the Cadiz beach of Sancti Petri, in Chiclana de la Frontera. Three north Africans had to be hospitalised in Puerto Real with hypothermia after also being thrown overboard. They were among eight adults who were on the semi-rigid boat.
The use of taxi boats is spreading among the people-smuggling mafias in southern Spain. These types of semi-rigid inflatable boats – favoured by drug traffickers – can reach Europe in around an hour from Morocco. The smugglers usually force their passengers, who pay up to 5,000 euros for the one-way trip, to jump into the sea near beaches so they can return at full speed to Morocco.
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