A boat carrying some 600 migrants sank off the Egyptian coast in the Mediterranean on Wednesday killing some 42 people whiles 150 others were rescued.
Rescue operations are continuing to find other potential passengers of the latest migrant disaster in the Mediterranean region. The boat is said to have sank near Rosetta, a city on the north coast of Egypt, police officials told AFP.
“There are 42 dead,’‘ the spokesman for the Ministry of Health, Khaled Megahed, confirmed to AFP revising upwards an earlier death toll of 30.
According to reports from the small town of Matbouss, north of Rosette, where the ship sank, the victims of the accident included 10 women, 31 children and a young man.
“There are Egyptians, Sudanese, Eritreans, Somalis, Syrians,” an official in Matbousse told AFP via telephone, adding that the ship had taken off at three in the morning before sinking three hours later, 12 kilometers from the coast.
In a statement on Wednesday, Egyptian Prime Minister, Ismail Sharif, called for the “provision of all necessary care to survivors” and for authorities to “prosecute those responsible for the shipwreck”.
Since the beginning of spring, an increasing number of fishing boats have left the northern coast of Egypt with hundreds of people on board, most of these migrants were rescued.
However, there are no recent sinking example of this magnitude near the Egyptian coast. Over at the Rosetta hospital, dozens of people gathered in search of their family members.
According to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the boat departures to Egypt account for about 10% of arrivals in Europe. This trip usually includes several perilous transfers at sea on boats in poor condition.
The Egyptian army announced Tuesday it had intercepted 68 migrants aboard a boat that was to undertake the crossing off the city of Marsa Matrouh (northwest).