A 7.62-meter (25-foot) long boat loaded with migrants capsized off the coast of Malta on Friday during rescue work; five people were killed and eight injured, Maltese authorities said.

Twenty-one more survivors were taken to a migrant detention center in the Mediterranean island nation. Search operations continue off the coast in search of other passengers who may have fallen overboard.

Col. Edric Zahra, deputy commander of the Armed Forces of Malta, said the operations center received a call at 10:45 a.m. Friday about a migrant boat about 8 kilometers (5 miles) away heading toward Malta.

An Armed Forces aircraft located the boat, and a vessel was dispatched to the area. As they began the rescue operation, the boat capsized. Zahra said there was no collision, but that the boat capsized “due to instability” caused by the movement of the passengers.

On occasion, migrant rescues fail because frightened passengers move from one side of the already unstable boats to the other, anxious to get out quickly.

The Armed Forces sent more boats to try to help, and authorities have opened an investigation.

The migrants set sail from Egypt, Syria, Ghana and Eritrea. The five deceased were four men and one woman.

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