ROSETTA, Egypt – Rescue workers on Tuesday pulled dozens of bodies from the hold of an Egyptian fishing boat that sank in the Mediterranean Sea carrying hundreds of migrants, bringing the toll from the disaster to more than 200 dead.
Families of those missing gathered at a pier outside the coastal city of Rosetta as the dead were brought to shore, and relatives went through the grisly task of searching through the body bags for their loved ones. Women broke into screams and some men collapsed whenever they recognized someone among the bodies, which were severely decomposed after nearly a week in the water.
A crane vessel on Tuesday hauled the boat, called the Mawkib al-Rasoul, or “Procession of the Prophet,” out of the mud of the seafloor where it capsized and sank last Wednesday about 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) off the Egyptian coast.
For days, authorities have been recovering bodies from the water or finding them washed up to the shore, including those of children and women.
On Tuesday, authorities pulled 33 dead out of the hold, bringing the total number of dead to 203, the head of the municipal council in the nearby town of Motobus, Ali Abdel-Sattar, said.
Around 160 of those on board survived, many of them spending hours in the water until rescue, often by other fishing boats.