Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Dozens of migrants drown as boat capsizes in Aegean Sea

The Greek Coast Guard recovered the bodies of 34 migrants, including 15 children, on Sunday in the Aegean Sea after their wooden boat flipped over in strong winds as it attempted the short but often perilous crossing from nearby Turkey.

Four babies and 11 young children -- six boys and five girls -- were among those on the stricken wooden boat when it sank off the island of Farmakonisi.

Eight of the victims were found by coastguard frogmen in the hold of the boat.

Rescuers, who were alerted shortly before dawn by a resident of Farmakonisi, found most of the bodies floating near the wreck.

The victims’ nationalities were not immediately known.

A total of 34 people were found dead, while another 68 were plucked alive from the sea and a further 30 managed to swim to safety on a beach on the island, according to latest coastguard figures.

The exact number of those aboard remains unknown but the ANA said the boat was overcrowded and went down because of high winds in the area.

A Greek navy ship was taking the bodies to Rhodes while the survivors were being transported to Leros.

After nightfall, Coast Guard vessels continued to scour the area for survivors. Rescuers were also searching for four children who had been missing since Saturday after their boat capsized off the island of Samos, north of Farmakonisi.

The coastguard was also still searching on Sunday for four children missing after another boat capsized on Saturday off Samos, a Greek island just off the Turkish coast.

The latest tragedies follow the death of a Syrian toddler whose lifeless body was photographed washed up on a Turkish beach last week, becoming a heartwrenching symbol of the plight of refugees fleeing war.

The International Organisation for Migration has said more than 430,000 migrants and refugees had crossed the Mediterranean to Europe so far in 2015, with 2,748 dying or going missing en route.

Sunday’s wreck was the latest in a catalog of drownings that underscored the desperation of thousands of refugees fleeing war and of migrants seeking better lives in Western Europe. For most of those who make it, Greece is just a stop on a journey through the Balkans aimed at wealthy nations like Germany and Scandinavian countries like Sweden known for generous welfare programs.

Tuesday 15 September 2015




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