130 migrants survive after ship sinks off Yemen (Lead)

January 18th, 2009 - 9:10 am ICT by IANS  

Sana’a (Yemen), Jan 18 (DPA) At least 130 passengers managed to swim ashore after a ship with around 300 Somali and Ethiopian migrants capsized off the coast of Yemen Saturday, Yemeni coast guard officials said.A coast guard official in Red Sea port of Houdieda said 130 people managed to swim ashore or were rescued by coast guard teams and local fishermen.

Three bodies have been recovered so far, the official, who asked not to be identified, told DPA.

He said the wooden ship hit a reef in a storm, tearing a hole in its hull.

The Yemeni Interior Ministry said the ship was stricken off the al-Makhaa area in western Yemen near the Strait of Bab al-Mandab, the southern gateway of the Red Sea.

It said coast guard authorities rushed rescue teams to search for survivors.

“The fate of most of the passengers remains unknown,” the ministry said in a statement.

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