Updated 16th January 2018

One of the immigrants aboard has been identified as the skipper of the boat. He was found to have around 9000 Moroccan Dirhams in cash on him, about €800. He has been arrested on a charge of reckless homicide.

The two who were taken to hospital yesterday have been transferred into police custody. 

It is being reported that the boat left Morocco on Saturday 13th January.

In an awful event witnessed by hundreds of holiday makers on Playa Bastian beach in Costa Teguise, seven people died en route to the islands.

A total of 27 immigrants, reported to be from the Mahrebi region of north Africa, were on a small boat which drifted close to the island. The boat was reportedly out of food and water, with 5 dead already aboard. Several tried to swim ashore and two drowned, with the remainder being rescued in rough seas. Of the 20 rescued, two are in hospital in Arrecife, and the rest are in police custody.

The emergency services were alerted to the situation at midday today, Monday 15th January.

This follows a similar tragedy in 2009, when 25 immigrants, 17 of them children,  lost their lives at Los Cocoteros, trying to get ashore.

President of The Cabildo, Pedro San Ginés expressed his deep consternation at the death of the 7 people, and declared a minute of silence at the doors of The Cabildo tomorrow at noon in their memory.

The responsibility for these deaths rests with the vultures who take money from the victims, promising them great opportunities, and then putting them into boats that are simply not adequate to traverse 70 nautical miles of The Atlantic, without enough food or water and with no navigation equipment.