Corfu arrest for migrant deaths

The Greek captain of a small vessel crammed with illegal immigrants that foundered off a beach on Corfu on Monday night with the loss of two lives, faced several criminal charges yesterday after his arrest late on Thursday. The Megalochari, a 15-meter passenger boat, had been carrying 162 illegal immigrants from Iraq and Afghanistan when it ran aground and took in water a few meters from the shore at Lefkimmi, on the Ionian island’s southwestern coast. One man and a little girl were drowned, while the survivors were taken to a local sports center where they have been held since. Yesterday, the Merchant Marine Ministry said Corfu coastguards late on Thursday arrested Vassilios Hadzaridis, 42, from the eastern Macedonian town of Drama, on suspicion of having skippered the Megalochari. Hadzaridis was found sleeping in a nearby village’s local council hall, with a bag of wet clothes in his possession. He was charged yesterday with exposing people to danger that resulted in their death, causing a shipwreck and damaging property.

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