At least 14 passengers on a Spain-bound vessel died when the craft sunk off the coast of Morocco, a Moroccan official said Friday.
Mustapha Khalfi, Moroccan minister of communication, said the sinking took place Thursday in the Mediterranean Sea off the Moroccan city of Alhucemas.
The ship was headed from Morocco to Spain, Khalfi said. Spain's Maritime Rescue Service said a Spanish air force plane aided by rescue ships found the boat 18 miles from the Moroccan coast.
At least 70 people were on board, Khalfi said, and 17 have been rescued. Spanish authorities transported the survivors back to Morocco.
A search is under way for more survivors, Khalfi said.
The people on the ship are thought to be migrants escaping to Europe. Many Africans looking to flee their homelands have tried to reach Europe by boat.