6 Dead in Migrant Boat Capsizing, Lebanon Minister Says

By Reuters
Reuters
Reuters
April 24, 2022 Updated: April 24, 2022

TRIPOLI—Six people died when a boat capsized off the Lebanese coast of Tripoli overnight, including at least one child, Lebanese transport minister Ali Hamie told Reuters.

The small dinghy carrying around 60 people sunk off the coast on Saturday night with both Lebanese and Syrians aboard.

Hamie told Reuters that a young girl’s body was retrieved on Saturday night and that the army had recovered another five on Sunday morning.

The army had previously said the vessel had left the coast illegally. In a press conference on Sunday, it said naval forces had crashed into the dinghy as the smuggler in charge tried to evade the military.

“The Lebanese military saved at least 47 people, but we don’t know how many more are missing because we don’t know the total number of those aboard,” said Hamie.

Lebanese army search for survivors after a boat capsized off the Lebanese coast of Tripoli overnight, near port of Tripoli
Lebanese army search for survivors after a migrant boat capsized off the Lebanese coast of Tripoli overnight, near port of Tripoli, northern Lebanon, on April 24, 2022. (Omar Ibrahim/Reuters)

Tensions were rising in Tripoli on Sunday as relatives of the victims gathered in agitated crowds outside hospitals where those hurt in the sinking were receiving treatment.

Mohammad Damnawi, a Lebanese man who survived the boat sinking, said he didn’t know if his wife and son had survived.

“I was with them. I managed to get out,” he said.

Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced a national day of mourning on Monday.

Lebanon’s economic crisis has seen the local currency lose more than 90 percent of its value and pushed waves of Lebanese as well as Syrian refugees to try the sea journey to Europe on small dinghies.

The United Nations humanitarian coordinator for Lebanon Najat Rochdi expressed her condolences on Sunday and said UN agencies were on the ground to help.

Reuters