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Women, child among dead after boat sinks off Somalia

By Ashley Fantz, CNN
December 20, 2012 -- Updated 1729 GMT (0129 HKT)
Survivors said the boat started having trouble after leaving the port of Bosasso in northern Somalia.
Survivors said the boat started having trouble after leaving the port of Bosasso in northern Somalia.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • United Nations Refugee Agency says 55 people are drowned or missing
  • Ethiopians and Somalis were on a boat that capsized off Somali coast
  • 23 bodies have been found, agency says

(CNN) -- At least 55 people have drowned or are missing after a boat capsized off the Somali coast on Tuesday evening, the United Nations Refugee Agency said Thursday in a statement.

Ethiopians and Somalis were on the boat. Twenty-three of the 55 victims have been recovered, the agency said. The dead include more than a dozen women and a boy believed to be about 4.

The incident marks the largest loss of life in the Gulf of Aden since February 2011, when 57 Somali refugees and migrants from the Horn of Africa drowned while attempting to reach Yemen.

Five survivors told refugee agency representatives that the boat was overcrowded and started having trouble soon after leaving the port of Bosasso in northern Somalia on Tuesday.

It's capsized 15 minutes into its journey.

At least 100,000 people have crossed the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden this year, despite warnings from U.N. and aid agencies about the risks of those kind of trips.

Before Tuesday's incident, 95 people had drowned or gone missing this year in the waters between Somalia and Yemen.

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