Death toll from lake shipwreck climbs to nine

CAIRO (AP) — Rescue workers searched a second day on Tuesday for at least five people missing after a tour boat capsized on a lake near Egypt’s Mediterranean city of Alexandria. Officials said nine passengers, including three children, were dead.

The boat was carrying at least 20 people and capsized on late Monday in the Lake of Mariut, while returning from a tour to an island in the lake, they said. Rescue workers retrieved nine bodies, including children aged one, one-and-a-half and four, and were searching for others, ambulance officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The top prosecutor’s office said in a statement at least six people survived the mishap, and rescue workers were still searching for at least five others. Authorities arrested the boat owner, who was also the voyage captain, the statement said.

Any survivors still in the lake, located west of Alexandria, could go into shock as temperatures fell on Tuesday in the already cold waters.

Citing relatives, local media reported that the victims, all from the same family, were returning from a voyage to an island in the lake.

The passengers arrived on the island in two groups but they were all packed on a single boat for their return, the privately owned Al-Masry Al-Youm daily reported.

Alexandria’s Governor Mohammed el-Sharif, said in comments on late Monday the boat was small and overcrowded, suggesting a possible cause of the capsizing.

Most boats on the lake work without licences, he said.