Around 150 people, mostly Lebanese and Syrians, were on board the small boat that sank Thursday in the Mediterranean Sea off the Syrian city of Tartous, Agence France Press (AFP) reported.
“The number of victims from the shipwreck has reached 77 people,” Syria’s Health Minister Hassan al-Ghabash said in a statement, adding that 20 survivors were being treated in hospital in Tartus.
Earlier on Friday, Lebanese Caretaker Minister of Public Works and Transportation Ali Hamieh confirmed the incident, saying that five of the rescued were Lebanese.
“I am discussing with Syria’s transport minister a mechanism to retrieve the corpses from Syria,” Hamieh said.
Meanwhile on Friday, Lebanese President Michel Aoun followed up on the details he received about the sinking of the Lebanese boat.
He was briefed on the latest data on the rescue operations and the provision of treatment to the survivors in Tartous, and the retrieval of a number of victims’ bodies.
President Aoun asked the competent authorities to provide all facilities to the families of the victims and survivors as a result of this tragic incident, according to National News Agency (NNA).