Friday, 24 July 2015

Egypt boat accident death toll climbs to 31

The number of people who died after a boat collision in Cairo has risen to 31 after 13 more bodies were retrieved, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

A search operation was still ongoing at the site of the accident in Giza, part of the Greater Cairo zone, three days after the boat sank in the River Nile after a cargo ship hit it, the ministry added.

Reports meanwhile conflicted about the number of the people who were aboard the pleasure boat when the accident took place late on Wednesday.

While some witnesses said there were around 60, officials put the figure at around 35.

Egypt's health ministry said on Friday that the death toll from a collision of cargo ship and a boat on the Nile carrying people celebrating the holidays of post-Ramadan feast on Wednesday has risen to 31, after several more bodies were retrieved from the river.

The captain of the cargo ship and his assistant have been detained pending investigations. According to early investigations, the ship was not meant to travel at night.

According to AFP, the family and friends of a young couple had hired the boat to celebrate their recent engagement. However, it is unclear whether the young couple were among those killed.

Some 150m far from the coast, the front of the boat has appeared on the surface, with some of the remained ornaments and broken colored lamps, and silent music speakers that never stopped playing popular songs in very loud voice, while the backward of the boat was still sinking.

Awaiting people in lines near the coast were staring cautiously at the rescue team who appears from time to time around and near the boat sometimes with victims and many times with empty hands.

Families in queues were standing near the Nile river coast on Friday, while others are searching among the recovered bodies in hospitals for their missed relatives.

On Thursday, family members and locals staged a protest following the tragedy. Protesters cut off roads in Warraq and briefly clashed with security forces, according to Al-Ahram.

"Our family cemetery isn't wide enough for burial of our victims in one time, " Moustafa Ali said when he stood outside the morgue room of Tahrir Hospital to receive corpses of his family members.

Ali has lost seven persons of his relatives including his wife and two children in two boats collision late on Wednesday.

Ali told Xinhua that two of his family's beloved are still missing, "I had to experience the grief of burial two times: we will hold a funeral and bury five bodies, then we will attend a second funeral for other two victims when retrieved."

Egypt’s Ministry of Health, meanwhile, stated that rescue operations would continue and that the death toll is expected to rise.

Boat accidents are frequent in Egypt due to overloading and failure to comply with safety standards.

In 2006, Egypt had its worst maritime tragedy when more than 1,000 people drowned in a ferry boat sinking in the Red Sea.

Friday 24 July 2015


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