Spain's maritime rescue service has found 14 bodies in the sea and rescued 17 people after a boat carrying migrants from Morocco began to sink in the Mediterranean.

Search operations are continuing because one of the migrants said about 70 people had been on the boat, a rescue official told the Associated Press on Friday.

A coast guard plane spotted the boat on Thursday afternoon following a tip that it had left Morocco and was heading to Spain. Those on the boat are believed to be from sub-Saharan Africa.

Each year thousands of suspected illegal immigrants from Africa try to reach Europe by setting sail in small, fragile boats.

Source: Associated Press