Coast guard fails to find more survivors after migrant smuggling vessel sinks off Agathonisi

19 March 2018
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A search-and-rescue operation by the Greek coast guard has failed to turn up any survivors or bodies in a sea region off the extreme eastern islet of Agathonisi over the weekend, after 16 people died when a wooden vessel carrying them from the Turkish coast towards Greek waters overturned late Friday.

Authorities estimate that 21 people were aboard the craft, which was operated by migrant smugglers based in Turkey.

Smuggling networks operating from the Turkish coasts in the eastern Aegean have ferried hundreds of thousands of third world nationals, including people fleeing war zones in the Middle East, onto Greek islands over recent years, with the peak recorded in 2015, what later become known as Europe’s migrant/refugee crisis.

According to reports, the 16 victims so far include seven children, seven men and two women. Two women and a man managed to reach Agathonisi by swimming. No information was given over the nationalities of the group aboard the ill-fated vessel.

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