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Six immigrants drown in Canary Island storm waves
28 Nov 2005 21:25:19 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Recasts with dead immigrants, details, previous MIAMI)

MADRID, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Six African would-be immigrants drowned off the coast of Spain's Canary Islands on Monday as storm waves swept their makeshift boat, officials said.

The accident was the most serious consequence of Tropical Storm Delta which became a winter storm as it neared Africa on Monday, but brought strong winds to the islands.

Rescue services had difficulty reaching the wrecked boat, which carried around 50 people, because of fierce weather conditions, officials said.

Six seriously injured survivors were transferred to hospital on the island of Gran Canaria by helicopter.

Each year, Spanish authorities capture thousands of migrants attempting to cross the narrow stretches of water separating Africa and Europe. Many die trying, drowning when boats capsize or smugglers abandon them to avoid getting caught.

Delta, the 25th named cyclone of the busiest Atlantic hurricane season on record, had caused little damage on land, a spokeswoman for the Canary Islands emergency services said.

Most of the effects of the storm, which began to move over the islands from midday onwards, had hit the popular holiday islands of La Palma and Tenerife, knocking down trees and lamp posts and causing power cuts, she said.

Delta, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph), left the tropics and became an "extratropical storm" by 10 a.m. EST (1500 GMT) on Monday as it moved over increasingly cool waters around 175 miles (285 km) northwest of La Palma, said the U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Some of its strongest winds would be felt in the highlands east of Marrakech, the hurricane centre said. At its current pace, the storm should make landfall in Morocco on Tuesday morning. Delta was the 25th named storm of a record-breaking Atlantic hurricane season, which began on June 1 and ends on Wednesday. The previous record set in 1933 was 21 named storms.

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