Sunbathers stunned as migrant boat lands on Spanish beach
(CNN)Sunbathers were stunned by the sight of a dinghy packed with dozens of African migrants landing on a Spanish beach Wednesday.
The boat arrived on Playa de los Alemanes, a beach in the Spanish town of Zahara de los Atunes, near Cadiz.
The incident, caught on camera, shows holidaymakers in bathing suits looking on in amazement as the migrants disembark the boat, clinging onto their belongings as they run up the beach.
A Spanish police spokesman told CNN that one officer was in the area when the migrants arrived on shore. He was later supported by local agents from Tarifa and Barbate.
“The fact is that the disembarking of immigrants in this area of the coast is not common, and it has been a surprise for the citizens and the agents themselves,” Juan Fernandez, spokesman for Spain’s Guardia Civil, said.
The Guardia Civil did not provide any more details about the number of migrants on board, or whether they had since been located.
Spain has seen an uptick in attempts by migrants to reach its shores in recent weeks, as temperatures there soared.
In the last 24 hours, the Spanish coastguard rescued over a dozen migrants off the coast. The Moroccan navy picked up 15 more people from two dinghies in the Strait of Gibraltar on Wednesday.
According to the European Union’s Frontex border agency, the number of migrants arriving in Spain is on the rise. The International Organization of Migration (IOM) reported that more than 8,000 migrants arrived in Spain in the first five months of this year, compared with around 2,400 during the same period in 2016.
Increasingly, African migrants are seeking a cheaper and easier path to Europe, setting sail for Spain from Morocco in toy dinghies and jetskis. The average price to cross from the Moroccan coast to Spain is around 500 euros (about $590), according to Frontex.
“It is logical that our coasts are the gateway to Europe for the most disadvantaged,” Jaime Armario Limon, deputy of Economic Development in Cadiz, told CNN, adding that landings like the one in Zahara de los Atunes were infrequent. “It’s a matter of distance. It is always about going the shortest way.”