At least six people, including a child, died after an overloaded boat carrying around 60 people capsized near the northern port city of Tripoli on April 23 evening.
In a statement, the army said they retrieved a body of a little girl on April 23 and five other corpses off the coast on April 24 after the boat sank for an unknown destination.
The army also said that its naval forces rescued 48 people, but did not specify their nationalities.
The army added that rescue operations were still ongoing for those who remain missing, without specifying a number.
A survivor told AFP News that an army boat was chasing the migrant boat, which cause it to sink.
In a press conference, Colonel Haitham Dannawi, commander of the naval forces, said that the boat only had the capacity to carry six people.
“The boat was very old and could only accommodate six people, there were no life jackets, and no other rescue tools,” Dannawi said.
“We tried to stop them from setting out, but they were quicker than us. We tried to explain to them that the boat was in danger of sinking,” Dannawi further said.
A man has been arrested in suspicion of being involved in the smuggling operation, the army said.
Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati declared an official day of mourning for the victims.
The Lebanese Red Cross said on Twitter that it sent seven ambulances to the port.
Najat Rochdi, the United Nations (UN) Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, said that UN agencies were on the ground to assist.
“It’s horrific to see deprivation still pushing people to take a perilous journey across the seas, sacrificing their lives and that of their children in search of a dignified life,” Rochdi said on Twitter.
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