Saturday 23 September 2017

Greece recovers seven dead, including baby, in waters near Lesbos

An Afghan refugee family walk towards the main road after arriving on a dinghy from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Lesbos (AP)
An Afghan refugee family walk towards the main road after arriving on a dinghy from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Lesbos (AP)
A Syrian woman carrying a baby disembarks from a ferry in Athens upon arrival from the Greek island of Lesbos (AP)

Seven bodies - including those of three children and a baby - have been recovered after a wooden boat carrying migrants collided with a patrol boat and sank during a rescue operation in the Aegean.

Greece's coastguard, which is searching for another missing person following the incident, said 31 people were rescued.

The incident occurred north of Lesbos, the island that has been the entry point of the majority of those making the journey from the nearby Turkish coast.

Hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war or poverty have made the trip from Turkey to Greece so far this year. The vast majority head north to more prosperous European Union countries, and the sharp increase in arrivals has triggered an EU crisis.

Earlier, the coastguard said it had rescued 830 people in 20 search and rescue operations between Wednesday morning and Thursday morning off the eastern Aegean islands.

The rescues, which occurred near the islands of Lesbos, Chios, Samos and Kos, do not account for those who reach the shores themselves, generally in overcrowded inflatable dinghies.

On Wednesday, authorities recovered the bodies of a woman, a young girl and an infant from an overturned dinghy spotted by a helicopter of the European Union border policing agency Frontex.

The recovery came after an all-day search following the rescue in nearby Turkish waters of 21 others who had been in the dinghy.

Press Association

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