750 People Aboard, Only 104 Rescues

The BBC reports that up to 100 migrant children were on vessel that sank off the coast of Greece
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 15, 2023 12:30 AM CDT
Updated Jun 15, 2023 1:21 PM CDT
Greece Suffers One of Its 'Biggest Migrant Tragedies'
This undated handout image provided by Greece's coast guard on Wednesday, June 14, 2023, shows scores of people on a battered fishing boat that later capsized and sank off southern Greece.   (Hellenic Coast Guard via AP)
UPDATE Jun 15, 2023 1:21 PM CDT

The full scope of the tragedy after a fishing vessel packed with migrants sank this week off the coast of Greece is not yet clear, but the current death toll of 78 looks certain to rise. The BBC reports 750 were aboard, including up to 100 children. (However, estimates on the number of children have varied widely, with a lower number of 40 as well.) So far, only 104 people have been rescued, per the AP. “The chances of finding (more survivors) are minimal,” retired Greek coast guard Adm. Nikos Spanos told state-run ERT television. At least 11 arrests have been made, including several Egyptians accused of human trafficking.

Jun 15, 2023 12:30 AM CDT

In what could be one of the worst recorded sinkings along the world's deadliest migration route, at least 78 migrants died and hundreds more remain missing after a fishing vessel capsized off the coast of Greece on Wednesday. The country declared three days of mourning and said the incident along the central Mediterranean migration route, about 50 miles southwest of Pylos, is one of its biggest migrant tragedies, the BBC reports. More than 100 people have been rescued, but the deputy mayor of the southern port city where those survivors were taken says information indicates there were more than 500 people in total aboard, the AP reports. None of them were wearing life jackets.

The 80- to 100-foot vessel is believed to have departed from Libya for Italy, and Greece's coast guard says that after Italy alerted it to the boat's presence in international waters, it attempted to assist the vessel but those efforts were turned down multiple times. The engine reportedly malfunctioned and gave out, and the ship flooded, sinking within just 10 to 15 minutes in one of the deepest parts of the Mediterranean, authorities say. "We are witnessing one of the biggest tragedies in the Mediterranean, and the numbers announced by the authorities are devastating," an official with the UN migration agency says. "This situation reinforces the urgency for concrete, comprehensive action from states to save lives at sea and reduce perilous journeys by expanding safe and regular pathways to migration." (More Greece stories.)

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