A spokesperson of the Egyptian armed forces declared on Wednesday night that, along with other state authorities, it has successfully intervened in the crisis of the sinking ship in the Mediterranean Sea near Rashid, Beheira governorate.
Though the death toll has now reached 42, the armed forces were able to rescue 163 people who had attempted to cross to Europe from Egypt, according to an official statement.
“The border and coast guards affiliated to the armed forces succeeded in rescuing 163 individuals and recovering 42 bodies. Search and rescue operations are still ongoing,” the statement read.
Media reports indicated that the boat was carrying between 300 to 600 illegal immigrants when it sank as it embarked from the coast to the Mediterranean Sea, likely heading to Europe.
Thousands of illegal immigrants cross the Mediterranean Sea every year, and Egypt has become a popular destination to begin the journey. Egyptians are also counted among these immigrants, most of whom end up travelling to Italy. Hundreds of Egyptian nationals have been repatriated from Italy with the help of the Egyptian Foreign Affairs Ministry.