At least 22 people died overnight from Saturday to Sunday in a shipwreck off the north coast of Madagascar as the vessel tried to illegally reach the French archipelago of Mayotte, authorities said.
"We are currently continuing the search to identify other victims and to rescue the survivors of this tragic event," a representative of the Malagasy Maritime and River Ports Agency, who wished to remain anonymous, told reporters late yesterday.
The wrecked boat was found in the open sea early Sunday morning, around 01:20 local time (22:20 GMT on Saturday) by fishermen who, due to the limited capacity of their own vessel, were only able to save 25 people, two of whom they passed away later.
The causes of the accident are still unknown since the affected vessel could not be found so far, although the burns found on some of the corpses point to a possible explosion.
"I send my condolences to those who have lost relatives and loved ones in this accident. I urge everyone, both the population and the authorities, to always respect the rules to prevent these accidents," he said last night through the network social Facebook the president of the country, Andry Rajoelina.
Since the start of the covid-19 pandemic, there has been an increase in attempted illegal crossings between the African archipelago and the French overseas department of Mayotte.
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