Egypt's Interior ministry says at least 15 civilians have drowned when a passenger boat traveling down the Nile near Cairo collided with a scow, causing the boat to capsize.

The ministry said the collision late Wednesday damaged the passenger boat, causing it to sink. The ministry said six people have been rescued and the skipper of the scow has been arrested.

The health ministry spokesman Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar told The Associated Press the rescue efforts continue, hampered by the darkness. Abdel-Ghaffar said only 12 bodies have arrived in the morgues of hospitals nearby.

Traffic has been heavy along the Nile, particularly near Cairo, where Egyptians have been out in droves celebrating the feast after the holy month of Ramadan. Nile rides are one of the holiday favorites, but many city dwellers also use passenger boats to travel between the Nile rivers.