One dead, more than 40 rescued after boat sank in Lebanese port of Tripoli

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April 23 (Reuters) – A child has died but more than 40 people were rescued after a boat sank off the coast of Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli on Saturday, Transport Minister Ali Hamie told Reuters.

The Lebanese Red Cross said in a tweet that about 60 people were on board and more than a dozen ambulances had been dispatched to the scene.

“We are still looking for the rest of the people who were on the boat, including both Lebanese and Syrians,” Hamie said.

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An excited crowd had gathered around the port by midnight, a Reuters witness reported, and ambulances could be seen taking people away from the coast towards the city.

The Lebanese government said in a statement that Prime Minister Najib Mikati followed the sinking of a boat carrying passengers that illegally sailed from the Qalamoun area south of Tripoli.

The economic crisis in Lebanon has prompted waves of Lebanese and Syrian refugees to attempt the perilous sea voyage to Europe on small inflatable boats.

Tripoli is the second largest city in Lebanon and, according to the United Nations Habitats Program, the poorest city in the Mediterranean.

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Reporting by Laila Bassam, Moataz Mohamed and Ahmed Tolba; writing by Maya Gebeily; Adaptation by Leslie Adler

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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