At least two passengers aboard a boat carrying migrants died when it sank off the Atlantic coast of Morocco, and a further 40 are missing, an official from Spain's Canary Islands said on Monday.
Rescue services had returned 10 survivors to Morocco, Txema Santana, the Canary Islands government official responsible for migration said.
According to Santana, the boat got into difficulties on Sunday shortly after it entered the water in the coastal town of Tarfaya in the far south of Morocco.
The Alarm Phone aid project also reported the accident. It tweeted that the rescue operation by the Moroccan authorities had been long delayed and was launched 11 hours after the first emergency signal.
"The loss of lives could have been avoided," Alarm Phone said.
According to the Spanish aid organization Caminando Fronteras, 4,016 migrants died in the Atlantic last year while on their way from West Africa to the Canary Islands, the highest number ever.