One dead and dozens missing after migrant boats capsize off Greece

Search for survivors under way after two boats sink off the Greek islands

Migrants in a wooden boat south of the Italian island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean sea on August 11. AP
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At least one person died and 65 were missing after two migrant boats capsized off Greece, the coastguard said on Tuesday, with rescuers facing gale-force conditions.

A body was recovered during the afternoon off the Greek island of Samos where, on Monday evening, a vessel from the Turkish coast capsized with 12 people on board, the four survivors said.

The body was recovered by a Turkish coastguard vessel that was sailing in the area and had illegally entered "Greek waters", Greek port police said on Tuesday evening.

The Turkish vessel "attempted to damage a Greek patrol boat" and "obstructed" the work of the Greek coastguard and an Italian European Border Agency (Frontex) vessel looking for missing people off Samos, the port police said.

Greek Shipping Minister Ioannis Plakiotakis accused Turkey of "trying to provoke an incident" in the Aegean Sea, a venue for recurring clashes between the two neighbours.

In the early hours of Tuesday, a similar shipwreck took place off the island of Euboea, near Athens, as the area was hit by winds of more than 50kph.

Injured and exhausted migrants rescued at sea – in pictures

Initially, the Greek coastguard found nine people — Afghans, Egyptians and Iranians — on a nearby island.

On Tuesday evening, another man was safely recovered from the island, taking the number of survivors to 10.

"According to the statements of the survivors, a total of 68 people were on board the ship," coastguard spokesman Nikos Kokkalas told state-run Ert television.

The search for the 58 people presumed missing was to continue at dawn on Wednesday, the Greek coastguard said.

Dramatic clifftop rescue after migrants’ boat sinks in Greek waters - video

Greece, Italy and Spain are destinations for people fleeing Africa and the Middle East in search of safety and better lives in the EU.

The Greek coastguard said it rescued about 1,500 people in the first eight months of the year, compared to fewer than 600 last year.

Greek officials say people smugglers now often take a longer and more perilous route south to bypass EU patrols in the Aegean in a bid to reach Italy.

Updated: November 02, 2022, 12:54 AM