Egypt Nile boat crash death toll rises to 36

CAIRO: Rescuers recovered seven more bodies from the Nile after a party boat collided with a cargo ship earlier this week, raising the death toll to 36, Egyptian officials said Sunday.

The accident, the deadliest such incident on the Nile in years, occurred late Wednesday when the victims were celebrating an engagement on a vessel that was struck by a cargo ship.

The captain of the cargo boat and his assistants were arrested following the accident in the Warraq district north of Cairo. They have been charged with manslaughter.

"We have recovered 36 bodies and the majority of the victims are children and women," General Magdi Al-Shalaqami from the interior ministry told AFP, raising the death toll from an earlier figure of 29.

Rescuers were still searching for more bodies, he said, with search operations expanded to other provinces.

Health ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel Ghaffar said among those dead were 20 children, some aged as young as four.

In a meeting on Sunday the cabinet took several decisions "in order to achieve discipline on the Nile," a government statement said.

The cabinet banned all night-time movement of cargo ships on the Nile in and around Cairo until September, the statement said.

It banned use of loud speakers on vessels hired for private ceremonies and on ferries transporting people. The cabinet also decided not to build new berths along the river.

The Nile, which runs along the length of Egypt, is dotted with cargo ships, party boats and fishing vessels.

In 2011, at least 22 people drowned in southern Egypt's Beni Suef province when a bus they were in fell into the Nile from a ferry which crashed into the river bank.