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Egypt ferry sinking blamed on truck fire

SAFAGA, Egypt: Egyptian inspectors said a fire caused the eventual sinking of a ferry in the Red Sea where more than 900 people are feared dead.

Rescuers were searching for survivors Saturday, but hope for the living has faded each day since the Thursday tragedy.

Egyptian Transport Minister Mohammed Loutfy Mansour said Saturday a truck in the hold of the ship erupted in flames

As the blaze grew, crew members tried to extinguish it.

But when the captain tried to turn the boat around in the high winds and choppy waters, the boat tilted to one side and began sinking.

Three-hundred fourteen people had been saved and 185 bodies recovered from the Al Salam 98, which went down within minutes of turning on its side Thursday during a voyage from Duba, Saudi Arabia, to Safaga, Egypt.

The 35-year-old ferry was carrying 1,272 passengers and 100 crew.

Some survivors said they spent 20 hours holding on to rubber dinghies and life buoys.

Al-Jazeera reports the ferry lost contact with the shore at about 10 p.m. without making a distress call but a nearby ship received one from the ferry's captain


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