More than 57 people thought to be dead after boat capsizes

More than 57 people are thought to have died when a packed boat capsized less than a mile off the Bahrain coast last night. The Foreign Office says that Britons were among those killed.

Eyewitnesses commented that the two-deck dhow seemed overcrowded when it left the harbour. The boat was turning around near one of the bridges that link Bahrain’s capital, Manama, with the island of al-Muharraq, when it suddenly capsized at around 1845GMT.

The water was flat, and some of the passengers managed to swim to a nearby boat. Bahrain Coastguard launched an immediate operation, helped by US divers, and a US Coastguard cutter: at least 63 people were rescued from the water.

The party on board was being hosted by a local construction company, Nass, Murray and Roberts, in celebration of completing a recent contract. Most of the passengers were foreigners; 150 are said to have been invited. Unofficial figures estimate that there were 25 Britons onboard, though the UK’s acting ambassador in Bahrain said that numbers couldn’t yet be confirmed, as many of the party weren’t carrying identification.