10 drown, 150 rescued from capsized migrant boat off Egypt

2016-09-21 16:15
(File, AP)

(File, AP)

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Cairo -  At least 10 people drowned when a boat carrying migrants capsized off the Egyptian coast on Wednesday, with rescue teams saving at least 150 passengers, officials said.

Search teams were looking for more survivors from the incident which took place off the Mediterranean port city of Rosetta, two police officials said.

"There are 10 dead and three injured," health ministry spokesman Khaled Megahed told AFP.

The incident comes months after the head of the EU's border agency warned that growing numbers of Europe-bound migrants were turning to Egypt as a departure point for the perilous journey.

Smugglers often overload the boats, some of them scarcely seaworthy, with passengers who have paid for the journey.

More than 10,000 people have died crossing the Mediterranean to Europe since 2014, according to the UN.

With the closure of the Balkans route popular with migrants seeking to reach northern European countries, as well as an EU deal with Turkey to halt departures, asylum seekers have been turning to other options.

"Egypt is starting to become a departure country," Frontex chief Fabrice Leggeri said in an interview with the Funke group of German regional newspapers in June.

"The number of boat crossings from Egypt to Italy has reached 1,000 (so far) this year," he said.

Read more on:    egypt  |  north africa

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