Lebanese army recovers 8 bodies from capsized migrant boat

BEIRUT (AP) — The Lebanese army on Sunday recovered the bodies of eight migrants whose boat carrying at least 56 people capsized the previous night, raising the death toll to nine, state media reported.

The National News Agency said the eight bodies were found near a small island off the northern city of Tripoli.

The Lebanese army had announced earlier that 47 people had been rescued and the body of a young girl had been found. He said high waves swamped the boat, which was carrying more people than it could hold.

The military said several of those rescued were treated at the scene while others were taken to nearby hospitals. A person suspected of being a smuggler who sent the migrants has been arrested, the army said.

Search operations began on Saturday evening after the boat, apparently heading for Europe, capsized shortly after leaving the Lebanese coastal town of Qalamoun.

Transport Minister Ali Hamieh confirmed to local Al-Jadeed TV channel on Sunday morning that eight more bodies had been found.

For many years, Lebanon was a country that welcomed refugees, but since the country’s economic collapse began in October 2019, hundreds of people have left on boats in the hope of a better life. in Europe.

Migrants from Lebanon pay smugglers thousands of dollars to take them to Europe in the hope of a better life. Hundreds of people arrived in European countries, while dozens more were arrested and forced to return home by the Lebanese navy. Several people have lost their lives on the way to Europe over the past three years.

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