At least seven migrants drown, 30 still missing in shipwrecks
Seven people were confirmed dead, and dozens were still missing on Friday morning from two of three migrant shipwrecks that occurred in the Aegean Sea in just two days.
The biggest search operation currently under way is for at least 30 passengers missing off the coast of Folegandros since the boat they were sailing in from Turkey went down on Wednesday. Only 13 people survived the wreck and were in an extreme state of shock before they were able to give coast guard officers an estimate of the number of people who were on the boat. If fears that they were not able to swim to safety are confirmed, this would make it one of the deadliest migrant shipwrecks in the Aegean.
Meanwhile, the Greek coast guard confirmed that it has recovered seven bodies and is searching for at least three more people from a sailing boat that ran aground on Thursday afternoon off the coast of Antikythera, southeast of the Peloponnese, en route from Turkey to Italy. Ninety of the passengers swam to safety – spending the night in a cave on the islet of Prasonisi, where they were able to light a fire to stay warm. They were brought to shore at the first light on Friday morning, with authorities saying that there are 27 children and 11 women among them.
A second sailboat carrying 92 people also ran aground off the coast of Mani in the southeast Peloponnese on Thursday. All of the passengers – 38 men and 54 boys who had started their journey in Egypt and were trying to reach Italy via Turkey – were able to swim to safety. They told coast guard officers they were traveling with three handlers who fled the scene of the accident as soon as they were able to get to shore. Police managed to track the three suspected smugglers down and arrest them. They have been identified as Turkish citizens.