Tripoli, September 15 (RHC)-- Only 26 people have been rescued out of the 250 African emigrants on board a boat that sank off Libya's coast while heading for Europe. The boat sank near the northeastern town of Tajoura, some 25 kilometers from the capital Tripoli, on Sunday, said Ayub Qassem, a spokesman for the Libyan navy.
"There are so many dead bodies floating in the sea," Qassem said, adding that the Libyan coast guard was unequipped to search for survivors. A similar boat accident in August claimed more than 100 lives off the Libyan coast. Libya's coast guard mostly relies on fishing boats and tugs borrowed from the country's oil ministry.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian coast guard arrested 157 migrants of different nationalities who were planning to sail from Egyptian shores to Italy, a security official said on condition of anonymity. There were women and children among the migrants who had paid a total of $3,500 to traffickers.
The boat was supposed to head for Italy from the Alexandrian district of Abu Qir through the Mediterranean Sea. The passengers included 43 Palestinians, 35 Sudanese and 18 Syrians.
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