Senegal’s President Macky Sall reported on Monday that at least 15 people drowned after a boat carrying migrants capsized off the coast of the country’s capital, Dakar.
The incident occurred offshore from one of Senegal’s renowned 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, a fisherman from Ouakam, who had gone down to the beach at dawn to prepare boats for the day’s catch, witnessed people attempting to aid in the rescue efforts.
“There were at least 12 dead bodies on the shore. Two people came out alive,” Diallo said.
After being alerted by local fishermen and the national navy, a group of firefighters and divers continued their search for bodies in the area on Monday afternoon.
Senegal has witnessed a surge in migrant boats attempting the perilous Atlantic migration route to Spain’s Canary Islands. Despite its reputation as one of the deadliest routes, numerous accidents have not deterred those determined to make the journey.
On July 13, Senegal’s navy reported that it had intercepted a boat carrying approximately 70 migrants who were risking the perilous journey. This marked the third reported crossing this month, as attempted crossings from West Africa increase during the warmer summer months.