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At least 14 migrants drown as search teams scour sea for survivors

Seventeen pulled from water after vessel had set off from Moroccan coast with some 70 people thought to be on board

Spanish search-and-rescue teams on Thursday saved 17 would-be immigrants from a sinking boat 18 miles off the coast of Alhucemas, Morocco, but recovered 14 bodies from the water of the Alborán Sea. The deployment of the Maritime Safety units came after a family member of one of the passengers raised the alarm.

Around 70 people were thought to be on board the vessel, which set off from Nador on the Moroccan coast overnight. The search-and-rescue operation began early on Wednesday morning. An aircraft soon spotted the boat and dropped an inflatable raft, onto which some survivors were able to climb.

A lifeboat followed the directions given by the air reconnaissance, where it was joined by one Civil Guard and two Moroccan vessels. The survivors, 14 men and three women, were taken to the Moroccan port of Alhucemas. Some of the passengers were in need of urgent medical attention.