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Egyptian ship carrying 1,400 sinks

Cairo, February 3
An Egyptian ferry boat with some 1,400 persons on board sank in the Red Sea during a crossing from Saudi Arabia to Egypt, the maritime authorities said today.

Around 185 bodies were recovered by rescuers amid fears of a much higher death toll, maritime sources told AFP.

“A helicopter has spotted lifeboats with people on board,” said Red Sea port authority chief Mahfuz Taha. “The ship sank 57 miles off Hurghada.”

The lifeboats were seen in waters off the Egyptian port city of Safaga, some 600 km southeast of Cairo, security sources said. Earlier, a security source said bodies were sighted in the water.

At least 231 persons were rescued.

The maritime sources said at least 1,310 Egyptians were on board, as well as around 100 from other countries, including Sudanese and Saudi nationals.

Among the passengers were pilgrims returning from the annual Haj pilgrimage to Mecca, they said.

Transport Minister Mohammed Mansur told Egyptian public television that 104 crew members were onboard and added that coordination with Saudi rescuers was under way. — AFP
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