The Canary Islands emergency services on Thursday said staff mistook a large tugboat pulling a ship for a crashed plane two miles off Gran Canaria Island, moments after saying that a plane had fallen into the sea.

Canary Islands

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago off the coast of Morocco. (Google Maps)

"It's not an airplane, it's a big tugboat pulling a ship," a spokeswoman for the Canary Island emergency services said.

Many large media outlets reported the initial claims of a crash before the correction was issued.

The Canary Islands are a Spanish archipelago near the coast of Morocco.

With files from CBC News