42 killed in migrant boat capsize off Egypt s coast


24 September, 2016

Smugglers were charging 35,000 Egyptian pounds ($3,951) for an Egyptian and $3,000 for foreigners to make the risky journey from Egypt to Europe, state media said.

Egypt's official news agency said the boat was carrying 600 people when it sank.

Di Giacomo said those aboard the boat were mainly East African and Egyptian, including many unaccompanied youths whose ranks have increased this year because of economic need and provisions in Italian law that grant them temporary papers and bar their involuntary deportation. He also added that "70% of those coming to Italy come from sub-Saharan Africa".

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

Thousands of illegal migrants have made the unsafe sea voyage across the Mediterranean in recent years fleeing war and poverty, mostly via lawless Libya.

The deadly accident comes months after the European Union's border agency Frontex warned that growing numbers of migrants bound for Europe were turning to Egypt as a departure point for the perilous sea voyage. More than 2,800 deaths were recorded in the first half of this year..

It was not immediately clear where the boat had been heading.

Numerous survivors in the latest tragedy have been detained by police. "Seven people were on board".

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In June, a boat capsized near Sicily, leaving at least 169 migrants dead. 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". Survivors said most of those who died were women and children.

Health Ministry spokesperson Khaled Megahed said in a televised statement on Wednesday that the ministry can neither track the number of people on the boat nor examine their documents or names since the process was illegal.

Egypt's official news agency said the boat was carrying 600 people when it sank.

"That's it. The traffickers... they are all known by name to the police around here, everyone knows the police are taking monthly payments from them".

They were among 42 people confirmed dead in the disaster which unfolded on Wednesday. He identified the skipper of the fishing boat as Mohammed Abu Hamid.

Armed forces spokesman Ahmed Samir has said that hundreds of refugees have been prevented from illegally immigrating this year.

Hassan Suleiman Daoud, a relative of one of the refugees, told AP, "We have been telling the authorities from 5.30 am [local time] that the boat is sinking, and they were saying they had no rescue boats, and no one was moving".

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