Photo: Immigrants Die off Spanish Waters (Juan Carlos Soler)
The flimsy craft that went down in Mediterranean waters en route from Morocco to Spain was carrying 35 migrants, not the 71 mentioned by one of the survivors, the Moroccan Human Rights Association said Thursday.
Spanish and Moroccan teams pulled 14 bodies out of the water and rescued 17 other people, Spain’s Maritime Rescue service said earlier.
One of the survivors said 71 people were aboard the boat when it left Morocco.
Ammari Hasan, the representative of the human rights association in the northeastern town of Uxda, told Efe that the figure of 35 passengers had been confirmed by several different sources.
If that number is correct, it would leave four of the sub-Saharan migrants aboard the craft unaccounted for.
The Moroccan government has made no mention of the accident, while the official MAP news agency has reported only that one African migrant was rescued at sea and brought to a hospital in Alhucemas in grave condition.
Authorities from both countries began searching for the boat on Wednesday after a tip from someone who feared for the safety of a family member aboard the craft, Spanish officials told Efe.
The boat was located by a Maritime Rescue surveillance plane, which lowered a raft to pick up some of those in the water and summoned vessels from both Spain and Morocco to aid in rescue and recovery efforts.
The Maritime Rescue plane remained in the area to search for additional survivors or victims.