BANI HASSAN, Egypt – Authorities have recovered seven bodies from the Nile River after a deadly accident on a small overcrowded ferry in southern Egypt, police said Monday.
At least seven other people were missing and authorities believe they drowned, but strong currents and muddy waters were hampering the search Monday, said Mina Zekri, the chief of Minya province's water police.
The small ferry, which was carrying dozens of people, was docked on the western side of the Nile River in the village of Bani Hassan, located in the Minya province about 220 kilometers (135 miles) south of Cairo.
Police officials had slightly conflicting reports about what happened, but it appeared that a ramp connecting the ferry to the dock collapsed as people were getting on and off the boat on Sunday, sending dozens into the Nile.
Families of the victims and villagers of Bani Hassan were seen gathering early Monday near by the scene of the accident. Some provided their fishing boats to help search the waters.
Zekri said seven bodies had been recovered from the Nile, including four that were found Sunday. The bodies of a 6-year-old twin boys were among those found Monday, he said.
"We will have to wait for two more days until the bodies float to the top to retrieve them," Zekri said about the people who were missing and believed to have drowned.
About 15 other people were injured in the accident and were taken to a nearby hospital.
Egyptians living on the western bank of Bani Hassan were using the ferry to cross to the eastern shores of the Nile on their way to a cemetery to pay their respects during the three-day holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.
Ferry, railway and road accidents are common in Egypt mainly because of poor maintenance and the lack of regulations.