At least 89 dead after migrant boat capsizes off coast of West Africa

At least 89 people have died after a migrant boat capsized off the coast of Mauritania, the West African country's state news agency and the head of a fishing association said.

A further 70 people are said to be still missing and nine people, including a five-year-old girl, were rescued.

The Atlantic migration route from the coast of West Africa to the Canary Islands is one of the world's deadliest, and summer is its busiest period.

On Thursday, the coastguard were said to have recovered the bodies of 89 people who were bound for Europe.

Yali Fall, president of the fishing association in the southwestern town of Ndiago, said the number of fatalities had risen further to 105, and locals had been burying bodies that had washed ashore since Monday.

"For three days, we buried the dead whose bodies were found," he said.

In the first five months of 2024, an unprecedented almost 5,000 people died at sea as they tried to reach the Canary Islands, migrants rights group Walking Borders said in June.

Read more from Sky News:
'Outbreaks of violence are feared' at French election
Biden addresses speculation over his future
Reformist vowing to ease headscarf laws is Iran's new president

Arrivals to the islands also soared five times to over 16,500 from a year prior, according to Spanish interior ministry data.

Local media said the boat was a fishing boat and that it had been mostly Senegalese and Gambian people on board.