22 Dead, Dozens Missing After 2 Migrant Ships Sink Off Greece

3 months ago 12

By Associated Press
October 6, 2022

A dinghy carrying 40 radical sank disconnected the seashore of Lesbos; and hundreds of miles away, disconnected Kythira, a sailboat carrying astir 100 radical besides sank.

Bodies floated amid splintered wreckage successful the wind-tossed waters disconnected a Greek land Thursday arsenic the decease toll from the abstracted sinkings of 2 migrant boats roseate to 22, with galore inactive missing.

The vessels went down hundreds of miles apart, successful 1 lawsuit prompting a melodramatic overnight rescue effort arsenic land residents and firefighters pulled shipwrecked migrants to information up steep cliffs.

The shipwrecks further stoked hostility betwixt neighbors Greece and Turkey, who are locked successful a heated quality implicit maritime boundaries and migration.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis voiced "deep sorrow for the tragic nonaccomplishment of life," and praised rescuers' "heroic" efforts.

"This is simply a clip to truly cooperate overmuch much substantially successful bid to debar these types of incidents occurring successful the aboriginal and to wholly eradicate the smugglers who prey upon guiltless people" trying to reach Europe in unseaworthy boats, Mitsotakis added.

The seashore defender connected Greece's eastbound land of Lesbos said the bodies of 16 young African women, a antheral and a lad were recovered aft a dinghy carrying astir 40 radical sank. Ten women were rescued, portion 12 different migrants were believed to beryllium missing, seashore defender officials said.

The past assemblage to beryllium recovered, of a man, was recovered by divers from the European Union's Frontex borderline bureau who helped successful the hunt and rescue operation, the seashore defender said.

"The women who were rescued were successful a afloat authorities of panic truthful we are inactive trying to enactment retired what happened," seashore defender spokesperson Nikos Kokkalas told Greek authorities television. "The women were each from African countries, aged 20 upward. ... There is simply a hunt connected onshore arsenic good arsenic astatine sea, and we anticipation that survivors made it to land."

The 2nd rescue effort was launched respective 100 miles to the southwest, disconnected the land of Kythira, wherever a sailboat struck rocks and sank.

The bodies of astatine slightest 4 migrants were seen amid floating debris from the yacht nether the cliffs. The deaths would beryllium officially recorded erstwhile the bodies were recovered, officials said. They added that 80 people, from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, had been rescued portion a hunt continues for arsenic galore arsenic 11 inactive believed to beryllium missing.

With winds successful the country reaching 45 mph overnight connected Kythira, survivors clinging to ropes were pulled to information up steep cliffs arsenic others were buffeted by waves arsenic they waited their crook connected tiny areas of stone astatine the bottom.

"All the residents present went down to the harbor to effort and help," Martha Stathaki, a section nonmigratory told The Associated Press.

"We could spot the vessel smashing against the rocks and radical climbing up those rocks to effort and prevention themselves. It was an unbelievable sight."

Kythira is immoderate 250 miles westbound of Turkey and connected a way often utilized by smugglers to bypass Greece and caput straight to Italy.

A volatile quality is taking spot betwixt Greece and Turkey implicit the information of migrants astatine sea, with Athens accusing its neighbour of failing to halt smugglers progressive connected its shoreline and adjacent utilizing migrants to use governmental unit connected the European Union.

Most migrants who scope Greece question from adjacent Turkey, but smugglers person changed routes — often taking greater risks — successful caller months successful an effort to debar heavy patrolled waters astir eastbound Greek islands adjacent the Turkish coastline.

"Once again, Turkey's tolerance of gangs of ruthless traffickers has outgo quality lives," Greek Shipping Minister Yannis Plakiotakis said.

"As agelong arsenic the Turkish coastguard does not forestall their activities, the traffickers cram unfortunate people, without information measures, into boats that cannot withstand the upwind conditions, putting their lives successful mortal danger."

Turkey denies the allegations and has publically accused Greece of carrying retired reckless summary deportations, known arsenic pushbacks.

Speaking astatine the United Nations General Assembly past month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Greece of "turning the Aegean Sea into a graveyard" and held up photographs of dormant migrant children.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.