Middle East

Egypt migrant boat sinking: Death toll rises to 162

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Media caption"Beyond words": Orla Guerin meets the survivors, and those left behind

The number of bodies recovered after a migrant boat capsized off the Egyptian coast on Wednesday has reached at least 162, as the search continues.

The boat was carrying between 450 and 600 migrants when it sank eight miles (12km) off the port city of Rosetta.

Egyptian, Syrian, Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali migrants were among those being transported.

Authorities said at least 163 people have been rescued but survivors told the BBC that hundreds more may have drowned.

Speaking to the BBC's Orla Guerin in Rosetta, survivors said smugglers forced anyone who wanted a lifejacket to pay extra.

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Image caption Authorities say they have rescued at least 163 people after a boat capsized off the Egyptian coast

Four crew members have been arrested on suspicion of involuntary manslaughter and human trafficking, Egyptian officials said.

The boat, which was kept off the coast for five days as more migrants were brought on board, is said to have capsized after a final group of some 150 people were crammed onto the vessel.

The incident came as the EU's border agency warned that increasing numbers of Europe-bound migrants are using Egypt as a departure point.

More than 10,000 people have died crossing the Mediterranean towards Europe since 2014, according to the UN.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.