Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 30 September 2020

Woman and two children drown and 53 migrants rescued off Crete coast

Only last week, the Greek coastguard stopped a sailboat carrying dozens of migrants off the coast of the island

Greece's Aegean Sea islands are often the destination for thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia who cross from the nearby Turkish coast in hopes of finding a better life in the European Union. EPA
Greece's Aegean Sea islands are often the destination for thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia who cross from the nearby Turkish coast in hopes of finding a better life in the European Union. EPA

A woman and two children drowned and 53 people were rescued after a migrant boat sank off the coast of Crete amid high winds on Monday, the Greek coastguard said.

A search operation continued well into the evening.

Authorities said it was unclear whether anyone was still missing because survivors did not give accurate numbers of how many people were on board.

The coastguard was notified on Monday by a person claiming to be a passenger, who said 16 people were on the vessel that sank 19 kilometres east of Crete.

A Greek naval frigate and an air force helicopter took part in the search, along with two coastguard boats and three merchant ships.

It is not known where the boat was coming from, how big it was or to where it was headed.

Greece's Aegean Sea islands are often the destination for thousands of migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia who cross from the nearby Turkish coast in hopes of reaching the EU.

But on some occasions, smuggling gangs send yachts south of Crete to head for Italy.

Only last week, the Greek coastguard stopped a sailboat off the coast of Crete carrying dozens of migrants.

Meanwhile, Greek authorities on Monday said they hoped migrants without shelter after fires and unrest in the Moria camp on the island of Lesbos could be rehoused within a week.

The camp was made for 3,100 people but at least 12,000 men, women and children were living there in squalid and unsanitary conditions.

Updated: September 15, 2020 03:56 AM

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