At least 58 African migrants, mostly Somalis, were feared dead after a smuggler's boat capsized off the coast of Yemen, Yemeni coastguard sources said.
"Sixteen bodies were found and 32 survivors reached shore safely," a source told DPA on condition of anonymity. He said 42 people were missing and feared drowned after the boat carrying 90 people, capsized in deep waters off the coast of the southern Yemeni province of Abyan late onThursday.
This was the second accident involving African migrants off Yemen in a week.
On April 6, at least 34 people drowned after smugglers forced them into deep waters off the Yemeni coast, according to the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).
Hundreds of people perish every year attempting the short but hazardous voyage from Somalia to Yemen across the Gulf of Aden.
In 2006, some 27,000 people made the perilous voyage to Yemen, with 330 deaths and another 300 reported missing and believed dead.
Since the beginning of 2007, more than 5,600 people have landed on the Yemeni coast and at least 200 people have died and many are still missing, according to the UNHCR.
Yemen has become a magnet for refugees fleeing violence since the outbreak of civil war in Somalia in 1991. Most migrants use Yemen as a gateway to the oil-rich countries of the Arabian Peninsula or Europe.
There are currently more than 88,000 registered refugees in Yemen, of whom nearly 84,000 are Somalis.