12 bodies found in Evros River

Police and military officials last night recovered the bodies of eight people from among the at least 12 who had drowned while trying to cross the Evros River recently, the Athens News Agency reported last night. The effort to recover the rest of the bodies would resume at first light, the agency said. The river forms the border between Greece and Turkey and is one of the crossing points for people seeking a better life in the European Union. Several immigrants have died after trying to cross minefields next to the river. Others have drowned in the river or in their effort to cross the straits between western Turkey and the easternmost Greek islands in the Aegean. The 12 dead people were found yesterday after a soldier on border duty saw a body floating in the river. He informed his unit’s headquarters and a search by army and police officials found 12 bodies in the river. The bodies are believed to be those of illegal immigrants of Asian descent and had been in the river for a few days as they had begun to decompose, police officials said. The bodies of seven men and one woman were recovered yesterday. Coroner Pavlos Pavlidis said that his initial observation was that death had been caused by drowning. «They were probably in the river for at least three days,» Maj. Gen. Giorgos Kokkinis, the region’s chief of police, said, according to The Associated Press. The bodies were found in the region of Petalou Peplou, near the town of Ferres, which is 29 kilometers (18 miles) from the Aegean port city of Alexandroupolis. The river there is about 10 meters deep at that point and searchers were finding it difficult to continue looking during the night because of the dangers posed by floating tree trunks and roots, the Athens News Agency said.

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