162 bodies retrieved in Mediterranean's Egyptian migrant boat capsizing

Yasser Shemis in Beheira , Friday 23 Sep 2016

Authorities have recovered tens of victims' bodies in the boat disaster during the last 24 hours but many are still missing

Egyptian mother reacts after seeing the body of her son who was in a boat carrying migrants which capsized off Egypt's coast, in Al-Beheira, Egypt. September 22, 2016. (REUTERS)

The death toll from the capsizing of a migrant boat off the coast of Egypt has risen to 162 on Friday afternoon after Egypt's naval forces retrieved 107 bodies in the past several hours, with the authorities expecting to recover more bodies in the coming hours.  

The boat, which capsized on Wednesday, was carrying migrants of a number of nationalities heading to Italy.

Eyewitnesses estimated the boat was carrying around 450 migrants, 300 over an estimated maximum passenger capacity of 150 people.

A total of 164 people have been rescued including the four crew members of the boat, 117 Egyptian migrants and 43 foreign migrants.

There are many children and women among the victims.

According to survivors' testmonies, after the boat sank, they remained in the water for seven hours before being discovered 

On Thursday, Egyptian prosecutors ordered the arrest and detention of the four crew members for four days pending investigation over charges of human trafficking, wrongful death, wrongful injury and using a fishing boat for another purpose.

In recent years, thousands of refugees and migrants have attempted to cross the Mediterranean in search of better jobs and opportunities.

The Egyptian Mediterranean coastline has been one of the main departure points for migrant boats.

Egyptian security forces have foiled many irregular migration in recent months.

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