Thirty-three bodies were recovered on Tuesday as a wreck of boat that sank off Egypt last week with hundreds of migrants aboard was lifted from the depths, raising the confirmed death toll to 202, a local official said.
The boat capsized off the Mediterranean coast on Sept. 21. Rescue workers and fishermen said they had rescued at least 169 people, but uncertainty remains over how many might still be missing.
Regional governor Mohamed Sultan said the number of bodies recovered was “almost final” but rescue workers were still looking for human remains at sea.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said on Tuesday it believed at least 450 people were aboard the vessel and that about 300 perished in all.
“It is one of the worst tragedies of this year, but not the worst,” IOM spokesman Joel Millman told a briefing in Geneva.
“We are concerned about what this says for the rest of the season as the weather turns cold and seas get more difficult.”
Egyptian security sources initially said there had been almost 600 migrants aboard.
Officials said the boat was carrying Egyptian, Sudanese, Eritrean and Somali migrants, and that they believed it was heading for Italy. Four members of the crew were arrested.
More and more migrants have been trying to cross to Italy from the African coast over the summer months, particularly from Libya, where people-traffickers operate.