A large search-and-rescue operation was under way on Tuesday for dozens of asylum seekers whose boat went down in the Kafireas Strait between the Aegean islands of Andros and Evia in the early hours of the day.
According to an official coast guard announcement, the operation began after a distress signal was sent by passengers on the vessel to the 112 hot line. Nine people were rescued from a tiny islet, but the survivors reported there being at least 68 people on board the sailboat.
The rescue operation is reportedly being hampered by adverse weather conditions, as winds in the Aegean are blowing at speeds of as high as 8-9 Beaufort.
The boat had set sail from the Turkish coastal city of Izmir and the majority of the passengers appear to be from Afghanistan, Iran and Egypt, state broadcaster ERT reported.