1 January 2016

Egypt: At Least 15 People Dead in 'Overloaded' Ferryboat Sinking in Kafr El-Sheikh

Cairo — At least 15 people were found dead after a ferryboat sank in the Egyptian province of Kafr el-Sheikh, as announced by the Kafr el-Sheikh governor Friday.

The ferryboat was carrying around 17 passengers from a village in Kafr el-Sheikh province to another in Beheira province on Thursday.

Judge Mohamed al-Zanfaly, who heads Kafr el-Sheikh's prosecution office, told Aswat Masriya that passenger overload and bad weather conditions caused the sinking of the ferryboat.

The victims' families told the prosecution that the ferryboat's capacity is six persons but it was carrying 16 on the night it sank, al-Zanfaly added.

Kafr el-Sheikh's governor confirmed in a press statement made available to Aswat Masriya that the ferryboat is designed to carry six passengers in addition to the person operating it.

Preliminary investigation had revealed that the ferryboat's license had expired eight months ago, making it "unfit" from a technical aspect.

Minster of Social Solidarity Ghada Wali announced a compensation of EGP 10,000 will be provided for the families of the deceased.

According to the state-run MENA news agency, the injured will be compensated by EGP 2000.

Transportation accidents recur frequently in Egypt. In July, around 40 people died in a sinking boat after it crashed with a heavy-cargo ship in the Nile river.

During the Mubarak era, the famous sinking of the Egyptian ferry al-Salam Boccaccio 98 in the Red Sea in 2006 led to the death of around 1000 passengers, mostly Egyptians returning from Saudi Arabia. The government was heavily criticised for failing to deliver rescue in due time.

Egypt also has one of the highest worldwide casualties caused by car accidents. The Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS) reported 2,808 deaths in the first half of 2015.

According to a 2015 World Health Organization (WHO) report, 10,466 Egyptians were killed in accidents in 2013.

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