CAIRO, Sept. 21 (UPI) — At least 42 people have been killed after a boat carrying immigrants sank off the coast of Egypt on Wednesday, eyewitnesses said.
More than 300 people were aboard the ship with “Most of those who drowned were children aged 10-13 years old” said witness Ahmed El-Semari told Daily News Egypt. A child from a local village was one of the victims, according to El-Semari.
Egypt’s Health Ministry confirmed at least 29 deaths a short time later. The boat, which also carried Syrian and various immigrants from Africa, was off the coast of Rashid City when it sank, officials said.
Officials said about 158 people have been rescued and as many as 400 are still missing.
Officials also believe the ship was most likely headed for Italy.
The Egyptian government has organized major resources for a rescue mission just two days after Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told a UN gathering “illegal immigration” needs more international attention.