19 survivors so far from capsized migrant boat: Lebanese Minister
The Lebanese Minister of Transport reveals that the Lebanese authorities have been able to rescue 19 people that were aboard the capsized migrant boat.
The Lebanese authorities were able to find 19 survivors so far in the Syrian territorial waters, the Lebanese Minister of Public Works and Transport, Ali Hamieh, revealed Friday after a boat carrying migrants sank off the coast of the Syrian city of Tartus.
The Minister told Al Mayadeen about the "high-level of cooperation by the Syrian government regarding the sunken boat incident," adding that "aircraft belonging to the Russian forces participated in the search for survivors."
Though it is unclear how many people of each nationality were on the boat, Hamieh said most of the survivors were Lebanese and Syrian, noting that there were six Lebanese survivors in total.
#Syria #Liban A #Lebanese boat sank off the #Syrian coast of #Tartus: it had more than 100 people of different nationalities on board, most of them Lebanese. 20 victims were recovered, including two women and 3 children. Nobody helps the #Arab #refugees pic.twitter.com/1QHuh2SenE— Donato Yaakov Secchi (@doyaksec) September 22, 2022
Syrian Minister of Health Hassan Al-Ghobash revealed that the number of casualties of the sunken boat off Tartus reached 77, while the number of people receiving treatment at Al-Bassel hospital in Syria was 20.
"The medical teams in Tartus governorate have been on alert and full readiness to respond since yesterday afternoon, especially the ambulance and emergency departments and the general authority of Al-Bassel hospital," Al-Ghobash added.
The governor of Tartus, Abdel Halim Khalil, told Syrian news agency SANA that "the relevant authorities responsible for cooperating with the police command of Tartus governorate are present at Al-Bassel hospital to hand over the bodies of the victims to their relatives after identifying them".
The director of the health authorities in Tartus, Dr. Ahmed Ammar, revealed that "some of the casualties' families came from Lebanon in coordination with the Lebanese Red Cross to identify their relatives and properly receive their bodies."
The head of the Red Crescent branch in Tartus, Dr. Rana Meri, explained that "the bodies of the victims of the sunken boat, who were identified by their families at Al-Bassel hospital, are being transported by Syrian Red Crescent vehicles to the Arida border crossing to be handed over officially to the Lebanese Red Cross."
The number of victims of the Lebanese boat that sank Thursday off the Syrian coast rose to about 77, with 20 reported injuries so far, after Syrian rescue teams found 17 that have drowned on Friday.
A source in Tartus governorate confirmed that the rescue teams, the Red Crescent, the Directorate of Health, and the relevant authorities were all mobilized to follow up on the search for the victims of the Lebanese boat, after survivors said the boat had more than 120 people on board upon its sailing, most of which are from Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.
It is noteworthy that the last contact the migrants made with their relatives was two days ago, as they informed them that food and water were running out, a technical malfunction had hit the boat, and bad weather conditions and high tides led to seawater seeping into the boat, which ultimately caused it to sink.
This is not the first crisis to take place regarding a boat transporting migrants from Lebanon toward the West. Back in April, a child died and 48 people were rescued after a boat carrying around 60 migrants sank off the Lebanese coasts, where deadly sea crossings have spiraled due to the country's economic crisis. In a statement, the Lebanese army indicated that the boat sank as a result of water leakage due to overload and surging waves.