Seven migrants killed in Greece after car driven by people smuggler crashes

Eight were injured in the high-speed smash, including the suspected trafficker

Passage through Greece is a popular option for migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Getty
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Greek authorities said on Friday seven migrants have been killed and eight injured after the driver of their vehicle - a suspected people smuggler - lost control and crashed near a highway toll station in northern Greece.

Police said the vehicle carrying 15 people had been traveling on a highway from the area of Greece’s north-eastern border with Turkey toward the north’s main city of Thessaloniki when it crashed just after midnight.

The vehicle had been traveling at high speed and the driver lost control as he tried to exit the highway, hitting a toll booth and crashing into a nearby storage container, police said.

The injured were four men from Pakistan, one from Afghanistan and two from Nepal, as well as the 35-year-old Moldovan driver, who police consider was acting as a smuggler. They have been transported to hospitals in Xanthi and Komotini.

The seven people killed in the crash included one woman. Their nationalities were not immediately known, authorities said.

Greece lies along one of the most popular routes into the European Union for people fleeing poverty and conflict in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

The most frequently used routes for clandestine entries into Greece are the short but dangerous sea crossing from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands, or crossing the heavily guarded land border between Greece and Turkey.

Updated: November 19, 2021, 1:11 PM