1. Inhalt
  2. Navigation
  3. Weitere Inhalte
  4. Metanavigation
  5. Suche
  6. Choose from 30 Languages

Middle East

Egypt: migrant boat death toll reaches nearly 150

The state news agency says 148 bodies have been pulled from the Mediterranean after Wednesday's migrant boat sinking. A search operation continues amid reports that more bodies may still be in the vessel's hold.

The MENA news agency on Friday revised up by 20 the death toll given by the Health Ministry earlier in the day.

Citing Wahdan el-Sayyed, the spokesman of the coastal province of Beheira, it said 148 bodies had been retrieved from the site of Wednesday's capsizing.

El-Sayed told state television that rescuers had picked up more than 90 bodies on Friday alone.

The migrant boat, which local media reported was carrying between 300-400 people, sank on Wednesday off Burg Rashed, a village on the Nile Delta.

Destination Italy

Officials said that the vessel was carrying Egyptian, Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali migrants, and that they believed it was heading for Italy.

Those onboard described how traffickers had overloaded the boat, which made it unsteady in the waters.

The dead included women and children who were unable to swim away when the boat sank.

Egypt's state broadcaster reported that 163 people have been rescued, and four members of the crew were arrested.

A search operation continued on Friday, with rescuers saying they would focus on the boat's hold where witnesses said around 100 people had been when the vessel capsized.

Perilous journeys

The EU's border agency Frontex has warned that the sea crossing from Egypt to Italy was becoming increasingly popular. The journey, which often takes more than 10 days, is often made in barely seaworthy boats.

Traffickers are known to overload vessels to maximize profits from desperate migrants, who pay hundreds or thousands of euros to make the journey.

More than 4,600 non-Egyptians have been arrested this year trying to leave by boat from Egypt's northern coast.

Although overall migrant numbers plying the Mediterranean are down, the number of fatalities is up.

This year is set to be "the deadliest year on record in the Mediterranean Sea," the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said, after more than 3,200 people died trying to make the crossing.

Watch video 00:52

More than 700 migrants rescued at the Mediterranean Sea in one day

mm/jil (AP, AFP, Reuters)

DW recommends

Audios and videos on the topic