Migrants found dead off Greek coast

Twenty people found dead and 7 others still missing after boat capsizes in the Aegean Sea, according to police.
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2012 16:48

At least 20 migrants have died and 7 are missing after their boat sank off the coast of Greece in the Aegean Sea, police have said.

"Only one person was plucked out of the water and hospitalised while 11 bodies were found on a beach" near the town of Mytilene on the island of Lesbos, a police spokesman told the AFP news agency on Saturday.

The nationality of the immigrants has not been disclosed.

Coast guard officials said the victims were trying to cross illegally into Greece when their boat capsised early Friday.

Because of bad weather conditions, it was impossible for the victims to swim to shore.

A 20-year-old man found alive on Friday told authorities there were 28 people on the crowded boat, including its Turkish owner. The man, who has been hospitalized, is the sole survivor found so far.

A coast guard spokeswoman said the migrants were "of Asian origin'' without specifying further.

Coast guard vessels have been scouring the nearly calm seas east of Lesbos.

Many migrants used to cross into Greece in the north, but now a wall has been constructed that has reduced the number of people crossing from an average of 300 per day to 10-15 per month, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres.

Because the wall has made it much more difficult to pass over land, immigrants are making the more dangerous journey by sea.

Tens of thousands of undocumented migrants cross into Greece each year, most through land and sea coming from Turkey.


Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.