Boats Carrying Migrants Capsize Off Greece; At Least 22 Dead

May 5, 2014

At least 22 people, including four children, are dead after two small boats carrying illegal migrants capsized off the Greek coast in the eastern Aegean Sea.

Joanna Kakissis, reporting for NPR from Athens, says survivors told the Hellenic coast guard that as many as 65 people were on the two smuggling boats — a 30-foot yacht and a 6-foot dinghy.

Rescue teams managed to save 36 people after the boats started sinking early Monday and were still searching for the seven others thought to be missing.

The coast guard says it saved 250 migrants in similar incidents this weekend.

The Associated Press calls the incident on Monday “one of the deadliest migrant boat accidents in Greek waters in recent years and the third fatal one this year.” According to the AP:

“The vessels overturned before dawn off the island of Samos, a favorite destination for migrant-smuggling gangs because it’s close to the Turkish coast. The Greek coast guard said it was not immediately clear what caused the overloaded craft to capsize.”

Joanna reports that “migrants fleeing war and poverty often try to slip into the European Union via Greece from the Turkish coast.”

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