Up to 50 passengers missing

The search continues in the Aegean after the sinking of a boat bound for Italy. Of the 80 passengers, 50 are still missing.

The Greek coast guard was searching for dozens of migrants who drowned on Wednesday (August 10) after their boat sank off the island of Karpathos in the southeastern Aegean.

According to the testimonies of 29 rescued people, there were 80 people on board, and therefore up to 50 people were missing.A Greek coast guard official told AFP that 29 people, including Afghans, Iraqis and Iranians, have so far been rescued.

A search hampered by the wind

According to the same source, the sunken boat had sailed from the Turkish city of Antalya, located on the neighboring Turkish coast, and was heading to Italy. Four boats sailing in the sinking area, two coastguard boats and a Greek Air Force helicopter, participated in the search for the missing. This search is hampered by strong winds of 40 to 50 km / h (7 degrees on the Beaufort scale), as reported by Skash Radio Nikos Kokalas, a spokesperson for the Coast Guard, stressing that “Many outcasts were not wearing life jackets“.

The perilous crossing of a few nautical miles between the Greek islands and the Turkish coast in the Aegean, located in the eastern Mediterranean, is costing the lives of many migrants and refugees trying to cross to Europe on makeshift boats to escape wars and misery. . Since January 2022, 64 people have died in the eastern Mediterranean, and 111 in 2021, according to data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The last shipwreck in the Aegean occurred on June 19: eight people died off the island of Mykonos while the Greek coast guard rescued 108, according to the International Organization for Migration.

see also More than a thousand immigrants landed in Italy

The number of arrivals of migrants and refugees in Greece, especially from Turkey, has increased this year, according to Greek authorities. Athens accuses Ankara of turning a blind eye to smugglers’ practices and allowing migrants to come to Greece in violation of the March 2016 agreement, which stipulated Turkey’s attempt to curb migration from its territory in return for European financial aid. Turkey denies the accusations.

For its part, Greece has been identified by NGOs and the media for its responsibilities in the illegal forcible return of migrants at its sea and land borders. The conservative Greek government claims that it has always refused to implement such revisions. At the end of June, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Elva Johansson, called on Athens to put an end to “Violent and illegal evictionsof immigrants.

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