A boat that left Madagascar illegally for the French island of Mayotte capsized on Saturday night off Ankazomborona, a town in northwestern Madagascar, the country’s port authority said Sunday. At least 22 people died.
The boat, reportedly carrying 47 people in total, ran aground off the northwest coast of the island, between Nosy Faly and Ambilobe. Local media report that at least 22 bodies have been recovered and 23 survivors found, while two others are missing.
Indeed, thanks to calls for help from these irregular migrants at around 10pm on Saturday, rescue operations were carried out jointly by the inhabitants and the police. Once rescued, these survivors fled to avoid arrest for attempting to travel illegally to Mayotte.
“According to the report we received, this boat did not leave from an official port,” said the General Director of the Port, Maritime and River Agency (APMF), during an intervention on the national channel on Sunday evening.
Search operations are continuing for possible survivors or victims of the sinking, the Port, Maritime and River Agency has announced. For the time being, the cause of the sinking remains unknown, while elements of the gendarmerie and the Malagasy maritime surveillance team are continuing the rescue operation at sea.