Hundreds feared dead as ship capsizes off Egypt coast
Hundreds of people may have drowned after a boat foundered off the coast of Egypt on Wednesday, survivors have told the BBC on Thursday.
The boat was carrying between 450 and 600 migrants when it capsized 12 km off the coast, they say. The numbers have not been confirmed.
Authorities say they have rescued 163 people and recovered 51 bodies so far off the port city of Rosetta.
Four crew members have been arrested, Egyptian officials said.
They are suspected of involuntary manslaughter and human trafficking, judicial officials were reported as saying.
The incident came after the EU's border agency warned that increasing numbers of Europe-bound migrants are using Egypt as a departure point.
The UN says that more than 10,000 people have died crossing the Mediterranean towards Europe since 2014.
The boat was kept off the coast for five days as more and more migrants were brought on board, survivors told the BBC's Orla Guerin in Rosetta.
The boat is said to have capsized after a final group of some 150 people were crammed on board.
Authorities have been accused of failing to send help fast enough.
"Anyone who was saved here, was saved by the local fishing boats," fisherman Abdelrahman Al-Mohamady told the Reuters news agency.
The International Organization for Migration said those rescued included 111 Egyptians, 26 Sudanese, 13 Eritreans, a Syrian and an Ethiopian.
Many survivors are now being held in police custody.
Rescuers are focusing their efforts on the boat's cold storage room, where it is believed around 100 people took refuge during the capsize.
There is still uncertainty over the exact number of migrants who were on board the vessel before it capsized, with estimates between 450 and 600.
The number of deaths is expected to rise.