At least 15 people died in the sinking of a migrant boat off the island of Lesbos, Greece, the Greek coastguard announced on Thursday (October 6th). Previously, the authorities had reported dozens of missing after the sinking of another boat which would have transported some 95 people, off the island of Cithere, near the Peloponnese peninsula.
The 15 bodies were discovered near the neighboring island off the Turkish coast after a dinghy carrying around 40 people and driven by strong winds blowing over the area sank, the coast guard said in a statement.
Five people were also rescued and operations to help three others were underway, authorities said.
At least 1,500 people rescued since 2022
A few hours earlier, the coast guard had been alerted that a sailboat was in distress near Cithere Island, where winds reached 102 km / h. The sailboat sank near the port of Diakofti.
Some of the survivors were able to swim to shore, and a combined operation involving ships at sea and the fire and police services ashore resulted in the recovery of 80 people. No details were provided as to the nationality of the castaways.
Greece has seen an increase in migrant traffic this year, with smugglers often taking the longest and most perilous route in the south of the country. The makeshift boats leave from Lebanon and no longer from Turkey to circumvent the patrols in the Aegean Sea and try to reach Italy. The coastguard said it rescued some 1,500 people in the first eight months of the year, compared to less than 600 in 2021.