CAIRO: At least two people drowned Saturday morning when a fishing boat, carrying 71 illegal immigrants and heading to Italy, sank in the Mediterranean near Egypt’s Delta governorate of Kafr el-Sheikh, Youm7 reported.
Conflicting numbers of victims were reported in newspapers; Youm7 reported that they were two while Al-Shorouq said the death toll was 12. However, the Egyptian Coast Guards pulled out the crops and escorted them to the nearby Rashid central hospital.
The rescue came after the boat captain has sent a distress signal following a heavy storm that attacked the boat in the early morning, Youm7 reported.
The Coast Guards headed to the boat immediately and were able to rescue the rest of the immigrants on bard who were arrested and transferred to the Motobas police station for investigations.
According to Al-Shorouq, the immigrants paid to a broker 10,000 EGP ($1400) down payment out of total 40,000 EGP. They agreed to pay the broker the due amount upon arrival to Italy.
On Monday and at the same province, the Coast Guards have foiled an illegal emigration attempt of 67 passengers to Italy.
Hundreds of Egyptians, who are in search of better standard of living, have been arrested in similar attempts to migrate to Italy and other European countries over the past few years. A number have drowned in the process.
Italy is one top countries of residence for illegal Egyptian immigrants. It has deported a number back to Egypt for illegal immigration earlier this year.