162 bodies retrieved in Egyptian migrant boat tragedy

162 bodies retrieved in Egyptian migrant boat tragedy

Friday, September 23, 2016 10:21 pm

(File photo) African migrants in Italy

(File photo) African migrants in Italy


One hundred and sixty-two bodies have been found after a boat carrying hundreds of migrants capsized off an Egyptian coastal town this week, a provincial official said on Friday.


“18 more bodies were retrieved as at this afternoon, bringing the number of victims to 162.


“A total of 164 people have been rescued since the boat sank on Wednesday off Beheira’s town of Rosetta,’’ the governor of the Delta Beheira province, Mohamed Sultan, said.


He did not provide a breakdown of the survivors’ nationalities.


The report said that those rescued were 121 Egyptians, including four crew members, and 43 foreign migrants.


“There were many children and women among the victims.


“Search operations were ongoing on Friday but no further survivors were reported found that day.


“On Thursday, Egyptian authorities jailed the four crew members pending an inquiry into the accident, which is the deadliest of its kind in recent years,’’ it said.


Reports gave conflicting figures for the exact number of people who were on board the boat when it sank early on Wednesday.


As at Friday afternoon, an estimate of 400 was given, while some private media said the vessel was carrying at least 300 people.


One survivor Ahmed Darwish said that there were more than 500 people on board the boat when it sank.


He said that the boat flipped over and sank shortly after the start of the journey.


“The 25-year-old Egyptian said he was rescued after swimming for around nine hours.


“Hard circumstances of life and my failure to get a job prompted me to go on the journey,” Darwish said.


Among those on board were people from Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea, al-Shorouk reported.


Initial investigations found that the boat had been filled beyond capacity, Egyptian media reported.


In recent years, Egypt has witnessed an increase in migrants trying to travel across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.


Regional turmoil and high unemployment rates are believed to be the main driving factors behind the risky journeys. (dpa/NAN)

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