The government hospital in Tripoli on Sunday received six bodies, according to L’Orient Today’s correspondent in the area, as the death toll continues to rise after the sinking of a boat off the coast of Tripoli late Saturday night. At least 48 people have been rescued, according to Lebanese Army command.
Here's what we know:
• According to our correspondent, the names of five of the deceased have been confirmed: Riad Dandchi, Hanan al-Jamal, Bahaa Murad, Bahaa Dandashi and Muhammad Abbas Al-Khashin.
• The state-run National News Agency has reported “more than 70” people were on board.
• The passengers, who include Lebanese and Syrian nationals, were attempting to leave Lebanon.
• One person has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in the smuggling operation, according to the army, and an investigation has been launched into the incident.
• Meanwhile, Benin al-Abda Civil Defense teams have been combing the coast in the area since early Sunday morning in search of possible survivors, the National News Agency reported.
• Prime Minister Najib Mikati announced that Monday will be an official day of mourning.
• President Michel Aoun on Sunday morning called for an investigation into the circumstances of the sinking.
• The army has said that after leaving Qalamoun, the boat sank due to having too many people on board. In its Sunday afternoon press conference, the army said that the nearly 50-year-old boat, which was designed to hold ten passengers, was holding above the appropriate weight, and was not supplied with proper safety equipment.
• One survivor told AFP that the boat was struck twice by an army patrol boat prior to sinking. The army denied this accusation, saying that the captain of the migrant boat tried to carry out maneuvers to escape the Lebanese coast guard, which resulted in the boat hitting the coast guard vessel.
• A photo circulating on social media purported to show a sign protesters had placed outside Najib Mikati’s yacht in Nice, blaming him for the tragedy.
• Most people trying to leave Lebanon illegally by sea are Syrian refugees, but the number of Lebanese citizens also attempting the journey is on the rise. In the first 11 months of 2021, at least 1,570 people, including 186 Lebanese, fled Lebanon by boat, or tried unsuccessfully, according to the United Nations refugee agency.