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Migrant boat carrying 600 capsizes off Egypt

Cairo - A boat carrying around 600 people capsized off Egypt's coast, killing at least 29, officials said on Wednesday, in the latest disaster to befall migrants attempting to make the crossing to Europe.

The boat sank in the Mediterranean Sea off Burg Rashid, a village in the northern Beheira province. Of the 29 bodies found so far, 18 were men, 10 were women and one was a child, local officials said.

A boat carrying around 600 people capsized off Egypt's coast. File Photo: Giorgos Moutafis. Credit: REUTERS

“Initial information indicates that the boat sank because it was carrying more people than its limit. The boat tilted and the migrants fell into the water,” a senior security official in Beheira told Reuters.

Rescue workers have so far saved 150 people, officials said. The boat was carrying Egyptian, Syrian, and African migrants, they added.

It was not immediately clear where the boat was headed, though officials said they believed it was going to Italy.

More and more people have been trying to cross to Italy from the African coastline over the summer months, particularly from Libya, where people-traffickers operate with relative impunity, but also from Egypt.

Some 320 migrants and refugees drowned off the Greek island of Crete in June. Migrants who survived told authorities their boat set sail from Egypt

Some 206 400 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean this year, according to the International Organisation for Migration.

More than 2 800 deaths were recorded between January and June, versus 1 838 during the same period last year.

World leaders, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, gathered in New York this week at the United Nations General Assembly to discuss the migrant crisis.

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