ANTANANARIVO, Madagascar (AP) – A freighter carrying 130 illegal passengers sank off Madagascar’s northeast coast, leaving at least 17 dead and 68 missing, officials said on Monday.
At least 45 people have been rescued from Indian Ocean waters, according to a report from the Maritime and River Ports Agency.
The ship, the Francia, had left the town of Antanambe, in the eastern district of Mananara North, in the early hours of Monday, according to the report. He was heading south towards the port of Soanierana Ivongo.
As it is registered as a cargo ship, it is not authorized to transport passengers and Antanambe is not an official port, said Jean Edmond Randrianantenaina, director general of the Maritime and River Ports Agency.
A hole in the ship’s hull would have caused it to sink, he said.
“According to the information we were able to gather, water entered the engine room. The water started to rise and it swallowed up all the engines, ”he said.
“Then the ship started to sink. We don’t know exactly what time the water started to rise, but our interventions started around 9 am, ”he said. Three boats from the national navy and the maritime agency are continuing the search for people still missing, he said.