An investigation has been launched by Spanish authorities following the deaths of four individuals who were ejected from a speedboat while it was in motion, only a few meters away from the coast of Andalucía.
According to the EU border agency, a tactic that is becoming more frequent was used on Wednesday when 27 passengers were reportedly ejected from a speeding vessel by the drivers near Camposoto beach in Cádiz province. Officials stated that an additional eight individuals were abandoned near Sancti Petri beach.
According to the Spanish government press office, it was believed that all 35 individuals were migrants from northern Africa.
All of the remaining passengers, which included six children, were forcibly removed from the boat and ultimately survived. Some individuals, suffering from hypothermia, were transported to the hospital for treatment.
Photos on social media depicted a dark ship near a shoreline as individuals were being forced off the edge of the vessel. A few others were already in the frigid, rough sea, battling to remain above water.
The occurrence occurred several months after a report from Frontex, the agency responsible for guarding the EU’s borders and coastlines, revealed that smugglers were now utilizing speedboats more frequently to transfer migrants from Morocco to Spain.
According to the newspaper El País, drivers frequently resorted to violence to quickly remove migrants from boats near the coast of Europe, in order to prevent being caught by police.
According to witnesses, this strategy was employed as the boat approached the coast of Cádiz on Wednesday.
Javier González, the manager of a windsurfing lesson company, informed the media that a boat associated with drug trafficking was spotted, but instead of drugs, it was carrying migrants. Chaos ensued when some of the migrants began jumping and others were forcefully thrown.
He claimed that while he and others rushed to assist those in the water, the boat quickly departed.
González and his son saved eight individuals, according to him. “One of them informed us that they held a firearm to him and gave him the ultimatum to either jump or be shot.”
González and his son utilized their company’s inflatable dinghy to make two separate trips in order to rescue individuals from the water.
“The individuals were all youthful, ranging from 15 to 20 years old. Those who were capable of communicating expressed gratitude towards us,” he stated. “It’s unimaginable to see the fear on their faces. They revealed that they had paid €5,000 (£4,300) for the journey.”
The police stated that they were looking into the event and had initiated a hunt for the boat, which was described as a fast-speed vessel typically utilized for transporting drugs between Spain and Morocco.
According to Francisco Mena, who heads an anti-drug group in Cádiz, the change in strategy in the drug war is not unexpected. He describes those involved as lacking morals, willing to discard both drugs and people without hesitation. This was reported by the news agency EFE.
The fatalities, occurring while Spain is dealing with a 70% rise in unauthorized migrant arrivals this year, led to a plea from Spain’s second deputy prime minister, Yolanda Díaz, for Europe to alter its approach to immigration.
She expressed her shock at the news on social media, stating that it is disheartening to see people seeking a better life only to meet their demise. She believes that Europe should be more welcoming and inclusive to prevent tragedies like this from occurring in our seas and oceans.