NEWS

4 bodies of migrants found at sea

4 bodies of migrants found at sea

Fifteen days after a boat full of migrants capsized south of the Aegean Sea island of Folegandros, four badly decomposed bodies were recovered Thursday, the Ministry of Shipping has announced.

Three of them were recovered off the island of Naxos. Authorities said they belonged to a woman, estimated at 30-35 years old, a girl aged 10-13 and a man in his early 20s. A fourth body, belonging to a girl aged around 12, was recovered at a beach on the island of Paros. 

The bodies will be transferred to the Piraeus coroner’s office for examination.

On Dec. 22. 12 people, all believed to be from Iraq, were rescued from an inflatable dinghy off Folegandros in the southern Cyclades, 180 kilometers (112 miles) southeast of Athens. The bodies of three unidentified men were recovered from the sea.

The survivors reported at least 17 others were missing.

Two days later, 41 people were rescued after a sailboat carrying about 80 migrants overturned northwest of Paros.

As Greece has tightened patrols off its eastern Aegean islands, close to the Turkish coastline, smugglers based in Turkey increasingly have packed yachts with migrants and refugees and sent them toward Italy.

In 2021, more than 116,000 asylum-seekers crossed the Mediterranean to reach EU countries this year, the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said last Dec. 24. The agency said 55% traveled illegally to Italy, 35% to Spain, and 7% to Greece, with the remainder heading to Malta and Cyprus.  

[Kathimerini/AP]