Dozens of migrants killed in boat sinking accidents on Greek waters, third in a week

At least three people died after a boat carrying migrants illegally capsized in the Aegean Sea, just hours after a similar tragedy claimed 11 lives, according to reports.

Friday’s tragedy—which is the third since Wednesday— brings the total death toll at least 27 from three accidents amid heightened migrants’ activity in the Greek waters.

The sinkings came as smugglers increasingly favour a perilous route from Turkey to Italy, which avoids Greece’s heavily patrolled eastern Aegean islands that for years were at the forefront of the country’s migration crisis.

The coastguard said it had found three bodies and rescued 57 people on Friday from a boat that overturned and sank near the island of Paros in the central Aegean, reports AFP

Hours earlier, 11 bodies were recovered hours after a boat ran aground on an islet north of the Greek island of Antikythera on Thursday evening.  

Ninety people stranded on the islet were rescued, including 27 children and 11 women, the coastguard said.

Earlier on Wednesday, a dinghy carrying migrants capsized off the Greek island of Folegandros, killing at least three people.

Thirteen people were rescued, while dozens remain missing, Greek authorities said.

The UN refugee agency UNHCR had termed the Folegandros accident the worst in the Aegean Sea this year.

“This shipwreck is a painful reminder that people continue to embark on perilous voyages in search of safety,” AFP quoted Adriano Silvestri, the UNHCR’s assistant representative in Greece, as saying.

The UNHCR estimates that more than 2,500 people have died or gone missing at sea in their attempt to reach Europe from January through November this year, reports AFP.

Nearly one million people, mainly Syrian refugees, arrived in the European Union in 2015 after crossing to Greek islands close to Turkey.

(With inputs from agencies)

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