Migrants drown off Samos

Two immigrants drowned and five others were missing late yesterday after a boat carrying illegal migrants sank off the eastern Aegean island of Samos, authorities said. Nine other immigrants were found near the shore on Samos after a coast guard patrol boat spotted them when they lit a fire in the area of Prasso. Authorities did not reveal their nationality. The migrants said that they had sailed to Greece along with seven others from Turkey on a wooden boat that had sunk in the early morning hours. A search operation was launched in the area and authorities discovered the two dead immigrants, a man and woman, in a nearby cliff area. A helicopter, two navy vessels and three coast guard boats were taking part in the search off Samos throughout the day. Volunteers from the local climbing club were also called in to help comb the area for immigrants who may have broken away from the group. Unofficial data indicate that more than 20 immigrants drowned in the eastern Aegean last year while trying to slip into Greece.

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