Seven children, two women and four men drowned when their boat sank off the small Aegean island of Farmakonisi, Greek coastguard officials said early Wednesday.
Another 15 people were rescued and one was still missing according to witnesses, the officials said adding that a Super Puma helicopter, a patrol boat and private vessels assisted the search-and-rescue operation.
“The vessel, a 6-metre (20-foot) speed boat, sank under unknown circumstances,” one of the officials told Reuters. “They were in the water when they were spotted by a rescue boat.”
The incident took place east of Farmakonisi, close to Turkey's coast. Tens of thousands of mainly Syrian refugees have braved rough seas this year to make the short but precarious journey from Turkey to Greece's islands. [Combined reports]