ROSETTA (AFP) – A boat carrying up to 450 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean off Egypt’s north coast on Wednesday, drowning 42 people and prompting a search operation that rescued 163 passengers, officials said.
The vessel overturned off the port city of Rosetta, police and health officials said. Five survivors, handcuffed to beds in a Rosetta hospital room, told AFP up to 450 people were on board. “The boat sunk. My three children died,” said Badr Abdel Hamid, 28, before breaking into tears. “We were 450 people on board. We left at 2:00 am. An hour an half later, it capsized. Whoever knew how to swim, swam. We even abandoned the women and children,” said Ahmed Mohamed, 27.
The boat sank some 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from the coast and the victims included one child, 10 women and 31 young men, a municipal official in the Mediterranean city told AFP. They were Egyptians, Eritreans, Sudanese and Syrians, said the official, Ali Abdel Sattar.