Survivors from a boat which capsized off the Egyptian coast on Wednesday said that hundreds of people may have drowned, BBC reported on Thursday.
The boat was carrying about 550 migrants when it capsized 12km off the coast, they say. Authorities have rescued 163 people and recovered 42 bodies so far off the port city of Rosetta. The victims so far include one child, 10 women and 31 young men.
The boat was transporting Egyptian, Syrian, Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali migrants. Many survivors are now being held in police custody.
Rescuers are focusing their efforts on the boat's cold storage room, where it is believed around 100 people took refuge during the capsize.
Four suspected traffickers have been detained, according to the reporters. They are accused of involuntary manslaughter and human trafficking, judicial officials were reported as saying.
The incident came after the EU's border agency warned that increasing numbers of Europe-bound migrants are using Egypt as a departure point.
The boat was kept off the coast for five days as more and more migrants were brought on board, survivors told the BBC. According to the reporters, migrants were charged extra if they wanted to wear life jackets.
The boat is said to have capsized after a final group of some 150 people were crammed on board. Authorities have been accused of failing to send help fast enough.