11 dead as boat carrying undocumented migrants capsizes in Balteem

11 people died and 15 were injured after a boat carrying 40 undocumented migrants capsized in the northern city of Balteem, Kafr al-Sheikh, Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper reported late on Saturday.

The victims drowned close to the shore of Awlad Saleh village in Balteem while reportedly attempting to travel to Italy.

Ambulance sources told the independently owned Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper that Sudanese, Syrian and African nationals were among those who drowned and that there are likely to be more victims discovered. A security source told the privately owned Al-Tahrir newspaper that the boat was also carrying Egyptian, Iraqi, and Syrian nationals.

Security sources asserted that the boat was moving from Lake Borolos when it capsized. Preliminary investigations, according to Al-Tahrir, revealed that at least 10 people are still missing.

Four of the deceased were transferred to Balteem Central Hospital, while the rest were taken to the Kafr al-Sheikh General Hospital. Three children and a woman, believed to be Syrian, are among those who died, according to Al-Tahrir.

The security source added that the undocumented migrants were surprised to discover on arrival that the boat was too small to carry all of them.

Also on Saturday, a group of 42 Egyptian migrants and their alleged smuggler were arrested in a hotel in the northern city of Rashid, before they were reportedly about to travel to Italy by boat, according to Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Another migration attempt was reportedly prevented by authorities in September, in the city of Edku in Beheira, when a boat carrying Egyptians, Iraqis and Somalis was set to sail to Italy.

Egyptian coastal cities have witnessed similar tragedies, as attempts to flee have increased following the Syrian civil war.

Eleven people, mostly Syrians, died in October 2013, when another boat carrying undocumented migrants capsized in Alexandria. Security forces, according to Al-Arabiya news website, said that over 116 people aboard the same boat were rescued, among them Syrians, Palestinians and Egyptians.

Another boat capsized in the Borolos area in Kafr al-Shiekh in April, leaving two dead and five injured. The boat was reportedly carrying over 300 people, mostly African nationals.

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