Syria migrant shipwreck toll rises to 77: Syria health ministry

Syria migrant shipwreck toll rises to 77: Syria health ministry
More than 70 migrant bodies have been recovered off the Syrian coast after they departed a north Lebanon town
1 min read
23 September, 2022
The bodies were found off the coast of Tartus in Syria [Getty]

At least 77 migrants have died after a boat they boarded in Lebanon sank off Syria's coast, Syria's health minister said Friday, in the deadliest such migrant journey from Lebanon and one of the deadliest in the eastern Mediterranean.

"The number of victims from the shipwreck has reached 73 people," Health Minister Hassan al-Ghabash said in a statement, adding that 20 survivors were being treated in hospital in the Syrian port of Tartus.

The survivors include Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian nationals.

Syrian authorities began finding bodies in the sea off the coast of Tartus on Thursday afternoon. Authorities have not yet said what happened to the boat.

The Syrian transport ministry had cited survivors saying the boat left from Lebanon's northern Minyeh region on Tuesday with between 120 and 150 people onboard, bound for Europe.

Samer Qubrusli, the Syrian director-general of ports, said on Friday that rescue efforts were continuing.

Lebanon has seen a spike in migration driven by a devastating financial meltdown that has plunged swathes of the population into poverty over the last three years.