At least 15 confirmed dead after two migrant boats capsize in Greek watersand rescuers were still searching for dozens of people who were still missing as of early Thursday morning, Greek authorities said.
After boating approximately 40 passengers crashed near the eastern island of Lesbos, the Coast Guard reported that 15 dead had been pulled out in the area. A total of five people were rescued, three of whom were found on a rocky outcrop near where the ship sank.
Several hundred kilometers (miles) to the west, near the island of Kythira, a second rescue operation was launched after a sailboat carrying roughly a hundred migrants capsized late Wednesday night.
After it hit rocks a short distance from the small port of Diakofti, located on the eastern side of the island, officials said thirty people had been rescued. The region experienced winds of up to 70 kilometers per hour (45 mph).
“We could see the boat hitting the rocks and people climbing up those rocks trying to save themselves,” said one witness. An eyewitness who lives in the area named Marta Stataki described the scene to The Associated Press as “an incredible sight.” “Every person who lives here came down to the harbor to help.”
Firefighters lowered ropes to help migrants climb the cliffs along the coast. The rescued people will be housed in a local school, according to officials in charge of the area. The arrival of divers from the Navy was also expected on Thursday.
#BREAKING #Greece: More than a dozen dead and 90 still missing in the aftermath #migrant boat sink close #lesbos and #Kitira‘; @pakustv #NYC #migrants #Human Trafficking #Europe pic.twitter.com/csdcXM25pZ
— Ali Chouhdary (@AliChouhdary81) October 6, 2022
The majority of migrants entering Greece do so through Greece’s neighbor Turkey, but people traffickers have nevertheless changed their tactics in recent months to bypass the heavily monitored waters that surround the Greek islands, which located near the Turkish coastline.
Smugglers often take this route to avoid having to go through Greece and go straight to Italy. Kythira is located about 400 kilometers (250 miles) west of Turkey.
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