At least 18 migrants dead in shipwreck off Greece's Lesbos

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At least 18 migrants dead in shipwreck off Greece's Lesbos

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reuters.com | 6 October 2022

At least 18 migrants dead in shipwreck off Greece's Lesbos

At least 18 people, most of them women, died when their vessel sank off the Greek island of Lesbos early on Thursday, the country's coastguard said, in the second maritime disaster involving migrants in the Aegean Sea in under a day.

The boat was carrying about 40 people, authorities said, citing people who had been rescued so far. Eighteen bodies were recovered, including a man and a boy, and 25 other people were rescued. The search for survivors was continuing under adverse weather conditions, the coast guard said.

The boat sank east of Lesbos, which lies close to Turkey's Aegean coast.

"Strong winds blowing in the area are making our work difficult," coast guard spokesman Nikos Kokkalas told state TV ERT earlier on Thursday.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, speaking from Prague as he arrived for the inaugural summit of the European Political Community, urged Europe to "work together, in a much more meaningful way," to prevent such incidents.

"And to completely neutralise the traffickers who are exploiting innocent people, desperate people, who are trying to reach the European continent on boats that are clearly not seaworthy," he said.

Greek authorities had on Wednesday rescued 80 migrants - among them 18 minors - whose boat sank in stormy waters near the island of Kythira in southern Greece.

Greece was on the front line of a European migration crisis in 2015 and 2016, when around a million refugees fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived in the country, mainly via Turkey.

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