Spain's maritime rescue service on Tuesday said it had rescued a boat near the island of Gran Canaria carrying 84 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, one of whom had died.

The Canary Islands off the coast of West Africa have become the main destination for migrants trying to reach Spain, with a much smaller number also seeking to cross the Mediterranean Sea to the Spanish mainland. Summer is the busiest period for all attempted crossings.

TV footage showed emergency services helping the migrants disembark, offering blankets and seating some of them in wheelchairs. One of the passengers had to be carried on a stretcher. Eight of the migrants, which were all male except one woman, were taken to a hospital.

The boat was located 8.5 nautical miles (15.7 km) from Gran Canaria island and the migrants were taken to Arguineguin port at around 5 a.m. local time (0400 GMT).

The Atlantic migration route, one of the deadliest in the world, is typically used by migrants from sub-Saharan Africa attempting to reach Europe.

Spanish government data showed 5,914 people arrived in the Canary Islands between January and mid-July this year, a 31.5% drop compared with the same period last year. But around 41% of them arrived in just one month between May 15 and June 15. (Writing by Emma Pinedo; Editing by David Latona and Tomasz Janowski)