EGYPT ROSETTA BOAT MIGRANTS.jpg
Military personnel and rescue workers inspect as people look on a body bag, the port city of Rosetta, some 250km north of Cairo, Egypt, 22 September 2016.
Photograph: EPA/MOSTAFA ELSHEMY

Egyptian authorities on Saturday arrested two people in connection with the sinking of a migrant boat that left at least 162 dead, the state Middle East News Agency reported.

Police arrested the duo - a fisherman and his mother - in the Delta province of Beheira where the boat capsized on Wednesday with hundreds of migrants aboard.

Prosecutors ordered the detainees be kept in police custody for four days pending an investigation into their involvement in the accident, the agency said without giving further details.

Egyptian online portal al-Youm al-Sabaa said that the man and his mother were being held for allegedly using their fishing boat to ferry migrants from the shore to the ship before its fatal journey.

On Thursday, four crew members of the ill-fated vessel were arrested.

A total of 164 people have been rescued since the boat sank off Beheira’s Mediterranean town of Rosetta, according to the province’s governor Mohammed Sultan.

There were conflicting reports about the exact number of people the boat had been carrying. 

Some Egyptian media, citing survivors, said that there were around 500 people on board despite the ship's capacity of 150.

In recent years, Egypt has seen an increase in migrants trying to illegally travel across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Regional turmoil and high unemployment rates are believed to be the main factors for the risky journeys.  

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