No less than 29 persons have been drowned after a boat carrying 600 African migrants to Europe capsized off the Mediterranean coast near the city of Alexandria, Egyptian authorities said on Wednesday.
The authorities have not yet revealed where the boat was headed to, but they confirmed that about 150 people have been rescued, with 29 bodies retrieved so far.
Egypt’s official news agency MENA said the boat had been carrying 600 people.
The capsize took place off the coast of Kafr al-Sheikh, officials say.
The tragedy comes as the head of the EU’s border agency recently warned that increasing numbers of Europe-bound migrants are using Egypt as a departure point.
BBC gathered that the EU border agency Frontex in August said that more than 12,000 migrants arrived in Italy from Egypt between January and September, compared to 7,000 over the same period in 2015.
It says that Egypt is the “new hotspot” for people smugglers, with concerns that its population of about 80 million people may pose a major problem should it descend into chaos.