Woman dies as migrant boat sinks off Greek island

Woman dies as migrant boat sinks off Greek island

A woman died when a boat carrying at least 41 migrants crashed on a rocky coast on the Greek island of Leros Sunday, authorities said.

Greece’s coast guard said they were alerted by a person who saw a body floating at sea. Three vessels and a helicopter, joined by a detachment that went overland, reached the point and retrieved the body, an unconscious boy and 39 other people, six of whom had made it to the rocky coast.

An inflatable boat was found half submerged.

Eight people, six of them minors, were hospitalized early in the afternoon, while the rest were taken to a reception camp to be sheltered.

Gale force winds are blowing in the area and it is raining, authorities said.

A coast guard spokeswoman told the Associated Press that the child found unconscious at sea was revived at the hospital and has a weak pulse. Hospital officials did not respond to inquiries about the health of the hospitalized migrants.

Minister of Shipping and Island Policy Ioannis Plakiotakis congratulated the rescuers but accused “criminal networks of traffickers that operate from Turkey, tolerated by the Turkish authorities” of abandoning the migrants. 

Leros lies close to the Turkish coast. Boats loaded with migrants – many inflatables but also yachts and speedboats – regularly leave Turkey bound for Greece, with some even attempting to reach Italy, irrespective of weather conditions.


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