Four young children feared died after migrant boat smashes into coast guard
Published 15/10/2015 | 18:27
Four children, including a baby, are among eight refugees thought to have drowned after their wooden vessel crashed into a coast guard ship off the coast of Greece.
Some 31 migrants were rescued following the collision, which is now being investigated by the Greek authorities.
It is understood that a man, two women, three children and a baby are among those feared drowned, the coast guard said.
No details have been given of their nationality.
The island has become a major entry point of the majority of those making the journey from the nearby Turkish coast.
The tragic incident happened near the island of Lesbos.
The thin stretch of sea however has claimed numerous lives in the past months, many of them young children who have been unable to keep themselves afloat in the dangerous waters.
On Wednesday, a migrant woman and two children drowned when a boat carrying about two dozen people capsized off Lesbos, the coastguard said.
Thousands of refugees - mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq - attempt on a daily basis to cross the Aegean Sea from nearby Turkey, a short but perilous trip by boat, often in rough seas due to poor weather.
Almost 400,000 people have arrived in Greece this year, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, overwhelming the crisis-stricken government's ability to cope.
Some 710,000 migrants have entered the European Union so far this year without the right documents or via illegal entry points.
Most have rapidly headed north towards Germany.
European leaders continue to hold talks on how to cope with the continent's worst migration crisis since World War Two.