Three people are still missing after an inflatable dinghy carrying migrants sank near Greece’s island of Lesbos along the maritime border with Turkey, authorities said.
Ten people have been rescued but search and rescue operation is underway on Friday Greece’s coast guard said.
Two coast guard patrol boats, a vessel from the European border agency Frontex, one helicopter and two aircraft, as well as a vessel that had been sailing nearby, were involved in the search operation, the coast guard said. Turkey’s coast guard had also been informed of the incident.
According to the Greek coast guard, the dinghy appeared to have sunk inside Turkish territorial waters, with initially one survivor swimming into Greek territorial waters and being picked up by Greek authorities. Another nine people were then also rescued, they said.
According to AP news, Survivors told authorities there had been a total of 13 people on the dinghy when it sank. Their nationalities weren’t immediately available.
Over the years, Greece has been one of the most popular entry points into the European Union for people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia for years. The vast majority attempt to reach Greek islands near the Turkish coast, often in dangerously overcrowded inflatable dinghies and unseaworthy boats.
A similar incident occurred in Libya were at least 75 migrants on board, including women and children sank. Among the 57 presumed drowned were 20 women and two children.
Eighteen of the migrants were rescued and returned to shore by fishermen and Libya’s coast guard.