A small boat carrying 280 migrants has landed in Spain’s Canary Islands.
The vessel arrived on the remote island of El Hierro, some 380km (238 miles) off Africa’s western coast, on Tuesday.
Rescue workers said those onboard were of sub-Saharan African origin and it was the largest number of migrants ever to arrive in the archipelago in one go.
The crossing to the Canary Islands is one of the most commonly used and dangerous routes to Europe for migrants from Africa.
“I’ve never seen a boat with so many people on board,” journalist and former migration adviser Txema Santana said on social media after the vessel arrived.
Since the start of the year, 140 people have died or disappeared trying to make the crossing, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Use of the route has increased in recent years as tighter controls have been put in place to stop people crossing the Mediterranean from Africa’s northern coast.
Between 1 January and 30 September this year, a total of 14,976 migrants arrived in the Canary Islands, an increase of 19.8% on the same period in 2022, according to figures from Spain’s interior ministry.
On Monday, Senegal’s navy said it had intercepted four boats over three days with more than 600 people on board.
In August, at least 60 people are believed to have died on a boat that was eventually found off Cape Verde, an African island nation that sits on the migration route to the Canaries.