CAIRO — A boat packed with 53 students and teachers from a university in northern Nigeria capsized Monday morning in a crossing between Egypt and Red Sea resorts, killing at least 29 people and leaving another 25 unaccounted for, Egypt’s Ministry of Civil Aviation said.
The group, from Bayero University, the state capital of Kano, had reached the shores of about half a dozen communities in the Nile Delta when the boat sank about 11 a.m., pushing dozens of the students and teachers into the Mediterranean Sea.
Families of the dead gathered at the university’s small administrative office in Kano to express their anguish. “These are students from Bayero University, and it is a shame to us that they died so young,” said Modu Abdulahi, who identified himself as the university’s head of information.
Abdulahi added that 46 students and six teachers had managed to swim to safety and were being treated at the university’s medical center.
According to Mohamed Hesham, a spokesman for the ministry, life jackets were issued to the Nigerian university students, who were on their way to the resort of Hurghada, in southern Egypt. He said the Coast Guard was searching for bodies.
Egypt’s increasingly crowded waters have been targeted by deadly drownings this year, with more than 90 people drowning in the Mediterranean in one incident in September. The largest number of deaths in a single incident occurred in May, when 34 people died after a sinking near Crete.
Nigeria has a long history of migration to countries like Egypt and other African countries, often despite the risks to one’s life. Most of the roughly 200,000 who migrate to Europe each year come through the Mediterranean, though conditions are more dangerous in the Gulf of Aden, near Somalia.
In October, a boat carrying about 200 Nigerian migrants died in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya.