At least 59 immigrants died after their boat capsized off the coast of Peloponnesusthe Greek coast guard reported on Wednesday, as fears grew that the death toll could be much higher.
The boat, with “hundreds” of migrants according to a Greek Migration Ministry official, it sank in international waters some 47 nautical miles (about 87 kilometers) off the Greek coast.
During an extensive rescue operation complicated by strong winds, they were 104 people rescued.
However, the official warned that it is feared “that there is a very high number of missing persons”.
The International Organization for Migration He acknowledged the fears of a large number of missing, noting in a tweet: “We fear more lives have been lost. Initial reports suggest that there were up to 400 people on board.”
Together with the ships of the Navythe rescue operation included a plane and a helicopter of the army, as well as six other vessels who were in the area.
“Since early Wednesday, an extensive rescue operation has been underway in front of pylosafter a fishing boat capsized with a large number of migrants on board,” the Coast Guard reported.
The rescued were being taken to kalamataalthough cfour in serious conditionThey were taken by helicopter to the port hospital.
The coast guard indicated that a surveillance plane from the European agency Frontex had sighted the boat on Tuesday afternoon, but that the passengers “refused to receive help.”
Later they said that None of the passengers were wearing a life jacket. and did not immediately disclose their nationalities.
Authorities said the immigrants appeared to have game of Libya and they went to Italy.
The Ministry of Migration will begin to search accommodation for the rescued once they are processed by the coast guard to determine their gender and nationality, an official said.
Also on Wednesday, a coast guard patrol salvaged and towed into port a sailboat in distress that transported some 80 immigrants off Creteas reported by the Greek port police.
With Italy and Spain, Greece It has been one of the main landing points for tens of thousands of people trying to reach Europe from Africa and middle east.
Greece is also facing an increase in crossing attempts from Türkiye by the southern routes, near the islands cyclades and towards the peninsula Peloponnesushoping to avoid patrols in the northern Aegean Sea.
Rescue operations are common, But last month the Greek government came under international pressure over a video allegedly showing the forcible removal of migrants who had drifted at sea.
Greece and other southern and south-eastern EU states say they are being unfairly charged with managing the arrivals of undocumented migrants.
(With information from AFP)
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