The bodies of 16 migrants, including those of four children, were recovered off the island of Agathonisi near the eastern Aegean island of Samos close to the Turkish coast, after the boat they were traveleing in capsizing with an estimated 21 people on board early on Saturday morning.
The identities and nationalities of the victims were not immediately known. According to reports, coast guard officials said there were at least three more migrants that were unaccounted for.
“We can’t tolerate losing children in the Aegean Sea… the solution is to protect people, to implement safe procedures and safe routes for migrants and refugees, to hit the human trafficking circuits,” Migration Minister Dimitris Vitsas said in a press release.
The search and rescue mission for those missing included private boats, three aircraft, a European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) vessel, as well as Hellenic Navy and Coast Guard vessels.