Dozens drown after migrant boat capsizes off Egypt's coast

Casey Mills
September 23, 2016

About 52 bodies have been recovered so far, but security officials said nearly 600 people may have been squeezed aboard the wooden vessel, suggesting hundreds more may have perished in what is just the latest disaster for migrants desperate to reach Europe.

The military arrested 68 people off the coast of Matrouh on a boat headed for Europe a day earlier as part of attempts by the government to crackdown on illegal immigration.

Wael Mahmoud Ahmed, an Egyptian man, sleeps at a hospital in Rosetta, Egypt, after rescued from a boat capsized off the Mediterranean coast near the Egyptian city of Alexandria, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016.

Rescuers brought more bodies ashore Thursday after a boat crowded with migrants capsized off the Egyptian coast, leaving at least 55 people dead and dozens missing. Rescue workers have so far saved 169 people, which means the death toll could hit several hundred.Prosecutors ordered the crew members jailed for four days while an investigation takes place.

Authorities also issue arrest warrants for five more people wanted in connection with the tragedy, according to the officials.

Flavio Di Giacomo, a spokesman for the International Organization for Migration, said 163 people had been rescued, and that the dead included 10 women and a baby. There were also 25 Sudanese, while the rest were sub-Saharan Africans and Syrians.

The search for bodies and survivors has been expanded around the spot where the vessel capsized, said Sultan.

The deadly accident comes months after the EU's border agency Frontex warned that growing numbers of migrants bound for Europe were turning to Egypt as a departure point for the unsafe sea journey.

So far this year, 264,513 migrants reached Europe by sea, mostly landing in Greece and Italy, according to IOM estimates as of the end of last month.

More than 300,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean so far this year from various points of departure, the United Nations said this week.

Numerous survivors were briefly detained by police. He said he was among around 100 people in a hold used to store fish when the vessel capsized. "And this is what caused the catastrophe". "But they do not care for the people who died" said Shaaban Darwish. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article. "There were many in the boat's hold who died".

"Families know that they will not be sent back", leading boys as young as 12 to make the trip, Di Giacomo said. It was not immediately clear where the vessel was heading, though officials said they believed it was going to Italy. He said on bigger boats, the space below deck at the front of the vessel is often packed tight with people.

Salem said he saw two of his friends drowning in front of him but could not help them.

Mina Fawzi, a 19-year-old survivor, told AP that there were already about 250 people on the boat when the smugglers brought along another 250.

Other reports by MyHealthBowl

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