Wednesday 26 July 2017

Rescuers search for missing migrants after boat sinks off Greek island

A woman reacts as she arrives aboard a dinghy after crossing from Turkey, to the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A woman reacts as she arrives aboard a dinghy after crossing from Turkey, to the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A Syrian woman covered with a thermal blanket stands with her children after they arrive with others from Turkey, to the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Lifevests that have been used by migrants crossing from Turkey to Greece are seen on the beach of the island of Lesbos, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
Syrian refugees arrive aboard a dinghy after crossing from Turkey, to the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A Syrian woman holds her child after they arrive aboard a dinghy from Turkey, to the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A Syrian woman reacts as she arrives aboard a dinghy after crossing from Turkey, to the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A woman reacts as she arrives aboard a dinghy after crossing from Turkey, to the island of Lesbos, Greece, on Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris)
A Syrian refugee carries his child at a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast, September 19, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
Volunteers provide medical help to a pregnant Syrian refugee woman shortly after she arrive with her family on a overcrowded dinghy at a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast, September 19, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
Volunteers provide medical help to a pregnant Syrian refugee woman shortly after she arrive on a overcrowded dinghy at a beach on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast, September 19, 2015.REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
A Syrian refugee woman reacts as she and family members jump off a overcrowded dinghy after landing safely on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast (seen in the background), September 19, 2015. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Rescuers are searching for 26 people who are missing after a boat with 46 migrant refugees sank off the Greek island of Lesbos.

The coast guard said a Lithuanian helicopter from the European border patrol agency Frontex spotted people in the sea off the south-eastern coast of Lesbos early today.

Two coast guard vessels headed to the area and have rescued 20 people. The survivors said there were a total of 46 people on board.

On Saturday, the Greek coast guard said a five-year-old girl found in the sea off the island of Lesbos died after her boat sank. Fourteen others are still missing.

The Italian coast guard said it had coordinated the rescue of 4,343 migrants from smugglers' boats off the coast of Libya in just one day. Adding to the tally, a Norwegian vessel rescued another 335 people.

Hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, mostly Syrians and Afghans fleeing conflict at home, have arrived in Greece from the nearby Turkish coast so far this year.

Elsewhere thousands of migrants crossed in to Austria, seeking refuge after shuttling for days between bordering countries that were unable or unwilling to offer them shelter.

Hungary's decision to shut its border with Serbia on September 15 set off a chain reaction in Croatia and Slovenia that has forced people fleeing violence in their homelands to rush from one European border to the next as they desperately try to find their way north.

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