30 survivors rescued from Red Sea ship

An Egyptian passenger ferry carrying around 1,300 people, mostly Egyptian workers returning from Saudi Arabia, sank in the Red Sea overnight, and Coast Guard vessels pulled dozens of bodies from the water today and rescued 30 survivors, officials said.

The 35-year-old ship, Al Salam 98, which was also carrying around 220 vehicles, went down 40 miles off the Egyptian port of Hurghada as most of the passengers were sleeping, officials said.

The cause was not immediately known, but there were high winds and a sandstorm overnight on Saudi Arabia’s west coast, from which the ship departed yesterday evening.

Four rescue ships reached the scene this afternoon.

An official at the maritime authority control room in Suez confirmed that 20 bodies had been pulled out of the water so far and 30 survivors had been rescued.

But a spokesman for the Egyptian Embassy in London, Ayman al-Kaffas, told the BBC that “dozens of bodies” had been pulled out of the water and several life boats had been spotted.

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