Survivors, some handcuffed to hospital beds, described watching women and children drown after an overcrowded migrant boat capsized off Egypt’s coast, as Egyptian authorities said Thursday 51 bodies had been recovered and an international NGO estimated that over a hundred people were still missing at sea.

Fishermen in boats were first at the scene early Wednesday, an Egyptian official said, and in the more than five hours it took the coast guard to arrive, they rescued dozens of survivors and retrieved bodies.

The capsizing could potentially rank among the deadliest incidents in the migrant route across the Mediterranean. However, the final death toll will require first obtaining a reliable figure for how many people were on board the boat, and more bodies could yet be recovered at sea or along the coast.


Backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and paramilitary forces, Iraqi government troops on Thursday pushed Islamic State group militants from a key town north of the Iraqi capital, days after launching an operation to retake it, a military spokesman said.

Recapturing the town of Shirqat posed another blow to IS militants who since late last year have suffered major battlefield losses, shrinking the areas the extremists had controlled in western and northern Iraq since a mid-2014 blitz.

In a televised statement on state TV, the spokesman for the Joint Military Command, Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasool, declared the town "fully liberated" with its center under the control of Iraqi forces and the national flag hoisted over nearby government buildings, including the mayor’s office and the main hospital.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico

Power was slowly being restored in Puerto Rico on Thursday, nearly 24 hours after a blackout swept across the island when a fire at a power plant set off a cascade of problems that knocked out the aging utility grid.

Some 200,000 customers had electricity back by early Thursday afternoon, and officials said that number could reach a half million in the next several hours. But it would be Friday before nearly all of the power company’s 1.5 million customers are reconnected, said Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla, who declared a state of emergency.

Compiled from wire reports