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Spanish NGO: Survivors Say 45 Migrants Die in Mediterranean

FILE - A dinghy with floats and life-vests of migrants, intercepted aboard of it off the coast in the Mediterranean Sea, is seen after they arrived on a rescue boat at dawn at the port of Malaga, southern Spain, Jan. 15, 2019.

A Spanish human rights activist quoted survivors Thursday saying that 45 migrants have died trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Spain.

Helena Maleno, who runs a Tangiers-based non-governmental organization, said she based her figure on accounts from seven female survivors. They told her a pregnant woman was among the dead.

A Moroccan official said he couldn't confirm the report. He said he was aware of 21 migrants who were rescued by the Royal Marines after their rubber dinghy floundered.

He said he knew of only one body being recovered Thursday, a day after the boat went adrift as it crossed the Mediterranean.

The official, who had information about the incident, wasn't authorized to discuss it and asked to remain anonymous. He said the migrants, all sub-Saharans, were in a critical state when pulled from the water north of Nador.