Two arrested, three sought over migrant drownings

Two people were arrested on Saturday in connection to the drowning of 12 Syrian irregular migrants off the coast of Lefkada as the immigrants’ movements in the lead-up to one of the worst such disasters in Greek seas became clearer.

Police said they had arrested a 30-year-old Greek and a 58-year-old Palestinian for the alleged trafficking of the migrants that died and another 15 who managed to make it out of the water alive. Officers said they were looking for two more Greeks and an Egyptian man in connection to the incident.

The 30-year-old was arrested in the village of Konopina in Aitoloacarnania, western Greece. He is accused of helping transport the migrants. The Palestinian was arrested after authorities initially thought he was one of the migrants who managed to make it to shore safely.

It is believed that the immigrants traveled by bus from Athens to a meeting point near Amfilochia. There, they were loaded into a van and two cars and driven to the seaside town of Palairos, which is opposite Lefkada. The traffickers had a small boat there ready for the immigrants so they could attempt to reach Italy.

After the boat capsized, the traffickers, bar the 58-year-old, left Palairos in the three vehicles, which they later dumped. All three have been recovered by police.

Authorities said that none of the 15 migrants rescued following the accident is facing any serious health problems.

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