59 migrants died near southern Greece’s coast when a fishing vessel carrying a large number of migrants tragically capsized and sank, the authorities announced on Wednesday.
The incident, which occurred approximately 46 miles southwest of Greece’s southern Peloponnese region during the night, prompted a significant search and rescue operation. According to the authorities, 104 people have so far been successfully rescued.
Out of the survivors, four were admitted to the hospital with hypothermia symptoms. After the recovery of the 32 bodies, the Greek coast guard stated that the total number of passengers who could still be missing at sea remains unknown.
The search operation involved six coast guard ships, a navy frigate, a military cargo aircraft, an air force helicopter, several private vessels, and a drone supplied by Frontex, the European Union’s border protection agency.
The migrant boat, believed to have started its journey from Tobruk in eastern Libya, was heading for Italy. Greek authorities and Frontex were first alerted about the incoming vessel by the Italian coast guard on Tuesday.
As an attempt to evade local coast guard patrols, human traffickers are progressively resorting to larger boats, steering them into international waters off the Greek mainland.
Earlier on Sunday, a distress call led to the rescue of 90 migrants on board a U.S.-flagged yacht in the same vicinity.