Two people, including a four-year-old child, have died on board a migrant boat off the coast of the Canary Islands.

Spanish rescue services said the bodies of the migrants were found on Thursday aboard the inflatable boat near the island of Lanzarote, the Telegraph reports.

A total of 51 people had boarded the makeshift boat from the African coast in an attempt to reach Europe.

Another 27 migrants were found on another ship nearby.

NGOs say the number of women and children trying to cross the Atlantic Ocean to the Canary Islands is increasing.

So far this year, 9,308 migrants have arrived in the Spanish archipelago, 27 percent more than in the same period in 2021, according to the Spanish interior ministry.

According to the NGO Caminando Fronteras, 4,404 migrants died or went missing last year at sea while trying to reach Spain, twice as many as in 2020.