Dozens Die of Thirst After Desert Stranding

5 bodies discovered following vehicle's breakdown near Sahara

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 29, 2013 8:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – Statements don't get much bleaker than this: "About 40 Niger people, including numerous children and women, who were attempting to emigrate to Algeria, died of thirst in mid-October." That's what the mayor of Agadez, Niger, tells the AFP, which reports that one of two vehicles carrying roughly 60 migrants broke down in a desert just south of the Sahara some time around Oct. 15. The other vehicle reportedly continued traveling—without passengers—in a search for spare parts. The travelers split up to look for water; days later, five made it to the town of Arlit and warned troops, but the help arrived too late for most.

Police say 19 survivors were brought to Arlit. Five bodies have been found, and 35 people remain missing, though "travelers told us that they saw and counted up to 35 bodies, mostly those of women and children, by the road," says Arlit's mayor. Among the missing are "entire families, including very many children and women," says a rep for an NGO. But officials have now ended the search, reports the BBC, which suggests the travelers were attempting to emigrate to Europe, not Algeria.

Five bodies have been discovered following a vehicle's breakdown.
Five bodies have been discovered following a vehicle's breakdown.   (Shutterstock)
This September 2012 photo shows the northern edge of the Sahara.
This September 2012 photo shows the northern edge of the Sahara.   (AP Photo/Kim Gamel)
This undated photo provided by French nuclear manufacturer Areva shows the uranium mine of Arlit, northern Niger.
This undated photo provided by French nuclear manufacturer Areva shows the uranium mine of Arlit, northern Niger.   (AP Photo/AREVA/HO)
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