CAIRO: Four people returning from a wedding are believed to have drowned after a ferry sank in a canal in Egypt’s northern El-Beheira governorate on Thursday.
Families of the victims gathered at the scene, outside the village of Dimishli, after rescue teams found the body of one of the passengers.
Three passengers were rescued from the canal and taken to Menoufia General Hospital.
Rescue teams identified one of the victims as Muhammad Abdullah Al-Sarsi, 27, whose body was found about 4 km away.
The Egyptian Public Prosecution ordered an investigation into the sinking as well as a report on the condition of the ferry.
Maj. Gen. Hisham Amna, El-Beheira’s governor, visited the scene and confirmed there were seven passengers on board.
The three still missing are Muhammad Abdullah Abdul Qadir, Ahmed Abdel Fattah Shendi and Mahmoud Hamdi Shendi.
The governor said that he directed security and rescue teams to the site to provide support.
Amna announced 10,000 Egyptian pounds ($628) of aid to families of the victims, and said efforts would be stepped up to recover the bodies.
MP Mahmoud Saad claimed the ferry sank because it was overloaded.
Equipment on board included cookware, which added to the already heavy load.
Saad said that a review of ferry control and maintenance is needed urgently.
The MP said he will submit a statement on the circumstances of the accident and demand action.
“There must be a ferry supervisor who does checks before it sets off. There also needs to be nearby river rescue points, periodic maintenance, worker training and a work permit requirement,” he said.
“This is not the first ferry accident and we have repeatedly talked about the need for tighter control. We need regular ferry inspections,” he added.
Ahmed Ismail, an eyewitness, told Arab News that the ferry passengers were returning from a wedding. The wedding cook and his assistants were among those on the vessel.