CAIRO (Reuters) - A fishing boat packed with up to 350 migrants heading for Europe has sunk off the Libyan coast and at least 10 Egyptians are among the dead, the Egyptian state news agency MENA said on Monday.
MENA quoted an Egyptian Foreign Ministry official as saying Libyan rescue workers had found 36 Egyptian survivors from the ship, but gave no details on the fate of passengers of other nationalities.
“Libyan search and rescue operations led to the recovery of bodies of those who drowned as a result of the accident, among them the bodies of 10 Egyptians,” MENA reported, citing Egypt’s assistant foreign minister for consular affairs, Ahmed Rizk.
MENA reported that around 350 migrants were on the ship, up from an earlier estimate of 257 passengers, but there was no immediate word on the overall death toll. It added that the Egyptian survivors were in a good condition.
Rizk told MENA that the ship had left Libya’s northern Mediterranean coast on Sunday morning, and that the boat later sank about 30 km off the Libyan coast due to a holed hull.
An Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said he had been informed that a ship had sunk, and that the ship’s crew was rescued by Libyan authorities. He had no further information.
Thousands of would-be migrants from Africa, many in flimsy and overcrowded boats, have died attempting the voyage to Europe.
Writing by Cynthia Johnston; editing by Andrew Dobbie