A boat carrying around 600 migrants and refugees capsized off Egypt's coast, killing at least 42, according to officials.

The boat sank in the Mediterranean Sea off Burg Rashid, a village in the northern Beheira province. 

"Initial information indicates that the boat sank because it was carrying more people than its limit. The boat tilted and the migrants fell into the water," a senior security official in Beheira told Reuters.

Rescue workers have so far saved 150 people, officials said. The boat was carrying Egyptian, Syrian, and Africans, they added.

It was not immediately clear where the boat was headed, though officials said they believed it was going to Italy.

More and more people have been trying to cross to Italy from the African coastline, particularly from Libya, where people-traffickers operate with relative impunity, but also from Egypt.

Some 320 migrants and refugees drowned off the Greek island of Crete in June. Migrants who survived told authorities their boat set sail from Egypt.

Some 206,400 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean this year, according to the International Organization for Migration.

More than 2,800 deaths were recorded between January and June, versus 1,838 during the same period last year.

World leaders, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattahal-Sisi, gathered in New York this week at the United Nations General Assembly to discuss the migrant crisis.