Egypt blames captain for ferry disaster
CAIRO, Apr 1 (Reuters) The captain of an Egyptian ferry which sank in the Red Sea in February was to blame for the disaster which killed more than 1,000 people, Egypt's Travel Minister was quoted as saying today.
Mohamed Lutfi Mansour said the captain of the boat Al Salam 98, which sank en route to Egypt from Saudi Arabia, had not sent a distress signal until the moment the boat sank, Egypt's official MENA news agency reported. The captain did not survive.
''The committee concerned with analysing the black box defined the causes of the sinking of the ferry as being by error from the captain,'' Mansour said.
The MENA report did not give further details.
Of the 1,414 people aboard the ship, only 387 people survived.
Survivors said a fire broke out below deck shortly after the boat left Saudi Arabia. The vessel then began to lift but continued on course for two hours before sinking quickly.
REUTERS SHB RAI2312