Death toll rises to 16 in latest migrant boat crash in Greece

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At least sixteen people died when a migrant boat sank in the Aegean Sea, the Greek coastguard said early on Saturday, just hours after a similar incident left 11 more dead.

The latest tragedy – the third since Wednesday – came amid high smuggling activity not seen in Greek waters for months.

According to the Athens News Agency, the Coast Guard recovered 16 bodies on Friday evening, including those of three women and a baby, and rescued 63 people from a boat that overturned and sank near from the island of Paros.

A few hours earlier, 11 bodies had been found in a boat which had run aground Thursday evening on an islet in the north of the Greek island of Antikythera.

Ninety people stranded on the islet were rescued, the coast guard said.

A dinghy carrying migrants capsized off the island of Folegandros on Wednesday, killing at least three people.

Thirteen people were rescued, while dozens are still missing, Greek authorities said.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, said the Folegandros crash was the worst in the Aegean this year.

“This shipwreck is a painful reminder that people continue to undertake perilous journeys in search of safety,” said Adriano Silvestri, UNHCR deputy representative in Greece.

Earlier on Friday, the coast guard intercepted another boat with 92 men and boys on board after it ran aground on the coast of the Peloponnese peninsula.

Three suspected smugglers who fled the boat on foot were then arrested.

UNHCR estimates that more than 2,500 people died or went missing at sea as they tried to reach Europe from January to November of this year.

Almost a million people, mostly Syrian refugees, arrived in the European Union in 2015 after crossing the Greek islands close to Turkey.

“These days, the criminal activity of human smugglers, indifferent to human life, has intensified, piling dozens of people in distress, without life jackets, on boats that do not even meet the safety standards of base “, commented Giannis Plakiotakis, Minister of Maritime Affairs. late Friday.

(AFP)

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