At least 15 migrants drown off coast of Senegal capital Dakar

Migrants on a wooden boat are rescued by German NGO Jugend Rettet ship "Juventa" crew in the Mediterranean sea off Libya coast.
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At least 15 people drowned when a boat carrying migrants capsized off the coast of Senegal’s capital Dakar on Monday, Senegal’s President Macky Sall said on Monday.

The incident occurred offshore from one of the country’s popular beaches in the Ouakam area in the early hours of Monday.

“I express my deep sorrow following the death of around fifteen Senegalese people following the sinking of a pirogue (boat) off the coast of Dakar. My heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims,” Sall said on his Twitter account.

Babacar Diallo, an Ouakam fisherman who went down to the beach at dawn to prepare boats for the day’s catch, said he saw people trying to help with rescue efforts.

“There were at least 12 dead bodies on the shore. Two people came out alive,” Diallo said. Bodies were also being brought ashore hours later.

“They are still retrieving bodies, but the water is not clear. We indicated to them where they could find them. We live here, and in case of danger, we can tell them where to find the bodies. There are probably still more bodies,” Diallo added.

Alerted by local fishermen and the national navy, a contingent of firefighters and divers were still searching for bodies in the area on Monday afternoon.

Senegal has seen a surge in migrant boats attempting the Atlantic migration route to Spain’s Canary Islands. Although one of the deadliest routes, numerous accidents have failed to dissuade those seeking to make the journey.

Senegal’s navy said on July 13 that it had intercepted a boat with around 70 migrants risking the perilous journey, the third reported crossing this month as attempted crossings from West Africa pick up in the warmer summer months.