27 Bangladeshis among casualties in Mediterranean migrant boat capsize

Twenty-seven of the migrants who died in a boat capsize in the Mediterranean Sea have been identified as Bangladeshis, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society says.

Red Crescent official Sayeda Abida Farhin said there are fears that the number of Bangladeshi casualties may be more than anticipated.

The disaster struck after around 75 migrants had set sail for Italy on a large boat from the conflict-ridden Libya on Thursday before being transferred to a smaller one.

The overcrowded vessel subsequently sank in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Tunisia on Friday, killing at least 65 people, the majority of whom were Bangladeshis.

Of the 16 people rescued by Tunisian fishermen, 14 were Bangladeshis.

Farhin said four Bangladeshis are currently receiving treatment at a hospital in the Tunisian city of Zarzis. But she was unable to confirm if they were of the 14 survivors plucked out of the waters by the fishermen.

On Sunday, Foreign Minister AKA Momen told reporters that 30 to 35 Bangladeshi were feared dead in the accident.

But Farhin said quoting Tunisia’s Red Crescent that there were 85 to 90 passengers on board the vessel. Of them, 32 were Egyptian nationals, according to some survivors.

“It’s being presumed that there may have been 50 to 55 Bangladeshi passengers on the boat. In that case, the number of Bangladeshi casualties may be more than previously thought.”

The bodies of 27 Bangladeshis have been identified so far, said Farhin. The majority of them hailed from Sylhet, Madaripur, and Noakhali.

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