Monday, May 20, 2024

Death toll rises to 59 after refugee boat sinks off Greece

The death toll has risen to 59 following the capsizing of a fishing boat carrying refugees and migrants off southwestern Greece, Greek national broadcaster ERT reported, citing local authorities.

A total of 104 passengers have been rescued, while a search and rescue operation was underway to locate a yet unclear number of missing, according to the report released on Wednesday.

The incident happened in international waters, 47 nautical miles off the coast of Pylos town during nighttime between Tuesday and Wednesday, and survivors told authorities the fishing boat had sailed off from Tobruk in Libya and was heading for Italy, ERT reported.

The Hellenic Coast Guard said in an earlier press statement that none of the passengers were wearing a life jacket and Greek authorities were alerted by Italian authorities about the incident, Xinhua news agency reported.

The nationalities of victims and survivors have not been identified yet.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou will travel to the nearby city of Kalamata, where the rescued are being transferred, her office said.

On Tuesday evening, in a separate incident south of Crete island, Greek authorities rescued 80 migrants and refugees who were on board a sailing boat, Greek national news agency AMNA reported on Wednesday.

Greece has been at the forefront of the refugee and migrant influx since 2015 and hundreds have perished in the Aegean Sea in the past eight years.

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