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.