Boat carrying migrants to Saudi Arabia sinks, 197 feared dead

Close to 200 people are feared dead after a boat carrying African migrants to Saudi Arabia sank in the Red Sea.

BBC reports that the boat was trying to smuggle people mostly from Chad, Nigeria, Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea, based on information from the Sudanese Media Centre.

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A fire broke out on the boat, forcing the ship to capsize off the northeastern coast of Sudan. Only three of the 200 people on board the ship were rescued, it states.

The survivors are being treated at a hospital near near Atiaba, Sudan, Al Jazeera reports.

The report by the Sudanese Media Centre states that authorities in Sudan arrested four Yemenis who allegedly own the ship.

There were conflicting reports about when the incident happened. The Sudanese media reported the incident Wednesday.

Despite the dangerous route, thousands of migrants, especially Ethiopians and Eritreans, attempt to cross the Red Sea every year in hope of reaching Saudi Arabia or Yemen and finding jobs there.

A ship carrying hundreds of migrants fleeing Libya capsized off Tunisia last month, and 150 people drowned.