Dozens die in refugee boat disaster off Greek island

Ten children among those drowned off Samos in latest deadly boat sinking involving refugees trying to reach Europe.

    Patrol boats from the Greek coastguard and Frontex were part of the rescue operation [Santi Palacios/AP Photo]
    Patrol boats from the Greek coastguard and Frontex were part of the rescue operation [Santi Palacios/AP Photo]

    At least 25 people, including 18 children, have drowned after a boat carrying refugees capsized in the eastern Aegean Sea, the Greek coastguard told Al Jazeera on Thursday.

    In the latest boat disaster involving refugees trying to reach Europe, the coast guard said the bodies of five girls, five boys, ten men and five women have been recovered.

    Ten people were rescued - five of whom were found on a wooden plank - and were brought to hospital.

    "The investigations are still ongoing because we do not know the exact number of people on the boat," a Greek coastguard official told Al Jazeera.

    The United Nations says that more than 46,000 people have arrived in Greece so far this year, with more than 170 people killed making the dangerous sea crossing.

    Authorities were informed of the latest sinking in the Aegean Sea after a refugee made it to the shore alive in the area of Kokkari, northern Samos, on Wednesday night.

    The survivor, who was in a state of shock, was unable to confirm how many people were on board with him.


    READ MORE: Greece reacts to EU's hard line on refugees


    A helicopter and patrol boats from the Greek coastguard and the European border agency Frontex were part of the rescue operations, the official said.

    There is no information yet about the nationality of the drowned or rescued, or whether they were all on the same boat.

    As many as 3,000 people continue to arrive in Greece daily, despite high winds and low temperatures.

    At least 43 people drowned last Friday when two boats capsized in Greek waters, most of them women and children.

    Reporting by Teo Kermeliotis: @Teo_Kermeliotis 

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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