NEWS

Boy dies as immigrant boat sinks

A 5-year-old boy drowned yesterday after sailing with a group of 22 illegal immigrants in a boat that sank some 2.5 kilometers north of the Aegean island of Samos, the Merchant Marine Ministry said. The coast guard launched a large search operation for the immigrants, who said they were from Somalia, after they were picked up by a Dutch-flagged vessel, the Noordam, which found them trying to swim to safety. The immigrants told authorities that they had set sail from the Turkish port of Kusadasi. Authorities fished the boy’s body out of the water after a search operation involving a Super Puma helicopter, three coast guard vessels and a military boat. The corpse has been taken to a hospital in Samos, which lies close to the Greek-Turkish border, for an autopsy, the ministry added. In a separate incident, the coast guard found 11 illegal immigrants trying to enter Greece aboard a boat off the island of Lesvos.