NEWS

Boat with dozens of migrants runs aground off Rhodes, at least three dead [Update]

A wooden sailboat carrying dozens of immigrants ran aground on Monday off the coast of the Greek island of Rhodes and at least three people have drowned, the Greek coast guard said.

More than 90 people were rescued and 30 of those taken to hospital. The boat was totally wrecked, the coasr guard said.

"We have recovered three bodies so far - that of a man, a woman and a child,» a Greek coast guard official said.

The incident followed the drowning of hundreds of migrants after their boat capsized off the Libyan coast on Sunday.

Greek TV footage showed parts of the boat in the latest disaster floating in the water off Rhodes and people holding on to it or swimming to the shore.

A surge in people fleeing violence and poverty in Africa and the Middle East has increased the pressure on Greece, a gateway into the EU for migrants who attempt risky boat crossings.

Greece last week announced a series of measures to deal with the wave of refugees - most of them from Syria - but said this wan international problem, not only a Greek one.

About 1,500 migrants have died this year seeking to reach Europe.

"The Mediterranean has become a wet grave for thousands of souls struggling to escape the flames of war,» government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis said in a statement.

[Reuters]

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