MADRID — A boat carrying a group of migrants ran into trouble off the coast of southeastern Spain killing at least three people and several others were believed missing, authorities said Friday.

Spain's Maritime Rescue Service said in a statement that two survivors and three bodies were found on a partially sunken boat off the coast near the town of Motril. The two survivors said the boat had been carrying 12 people when it set sail from Algeria six days ago, leading authorities to suspect seven others may have fallen into the sea.

The two survivors and three bodies were taken by helicopter to the mainland.

Tens of thousands of migrants from sub-Saharan countries fleeing poverty, conflict and instability in West Africa try to reach Spain each year in large open boats. Most go to the Canary Islands in the Atlantic, while others from Morocco, Algeria and Middle Eastern countries try to cross the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean to mainland Spain. Several thousand die making the hazardous journey.

The Interior Ministry says 14, 405 migrants arrived in Spain by boat between Jan. 1 and Mar. 15, up from 3,528 in the same period last year. The vast majority arrived on the Canary Island route.

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