SANAA, March 9 (Xinhua) -- About 42 African refugees drowned on Sunday evening off the Yemeni coast after their boat capsized in the Gulf of Aden, while about 30 people on the boat were rescued, the Yemeni defense ministry said in a statement.
The accident took place a few kilometers away off the Bir Ali coast of Yemen's southern province of Shabwa on Sunday evening, according to the statement that is posted on the ministry's website.
The Yemeni coastal guards found 42 bodies of the African refugees and managed to rescue another 30 people, it said, adding that the coastal guards were still searching for more survivors.
The ministry did not mention the nationality of the refugees, but local authorities said they were Somalis and Ethiopians.
According to local media, hundreds of Africans drown every year trying to reach Yemen in crowded boats. They tried to travel to Yemen through the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea, hoping to reach Gulf countries or Europe.
Over 62,000 asylum seekers, refugees and migrants arrived in Yemen from the Horn of Africa in 2013, according to The United Nations Refugee Agency.