Migrant death toll off Greek island raises to 22, dozens missing presumably dead
Greek Coast Guard so far recovered 22 bodies of the migrants sailing on a boat from Turkey’s Izmir coast that was sank off Evia island in the Aegean.
While a total of 12 migrants were rescued, the hopes regarding dozens of missing people are fading, despite the search and rescue operation continues.
The sailboat with reportedly 68 migrants on board capsized and sank in Kafireas Strait, between the islands of Evia and Andros on early Tuesday.
The survivors that included Egyptians, Afghans and Iranians told the authorities that the boat was departed from Izmir, a western province in Turkey, carrying 68 migrants. None of them were wearing a life jacket, they said.
Migration is a disputed issue between Greece and Turkey. Ankara frequently accuses Greece of violent and unlawful migrant pushbacks in the Aegean, describing the act as a crime against humanity. Athens on the other hand, blames Ankara of deliberately encouraging migrants to cross border, despite being obliged to stop them entering Greece, under a 2016 deal signed with the European Union.