Greek coast guard searches for 26 missing migrants

  • AP, Athens
  • Updated: Sep 20, 2015 13:14 IST
Migrants in a dinghy paddle their way on Mediterranean Sea to attempt crossing to the Greek island of Kos, as a Turkish Coast Guard ship patrols off the shores of Bodrum, Turkey. (REUTERS)

Greece’s coast guard was searching Sunday for 26 migrants missing off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos after the boat they were traveling in sank.

The coast guard says a Lithuanian helicopter from the European border patrol agency Frontex spotted people in the sea off the southeastern coast of Lesbos in the early morning. Two coast guard vessels headed to the area and rescued 20 people, who said they were in a boat that sank with a total of 46 people on board.

No information was immediately available on the nationalities of the survivors.

Hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers, mostly Syrians and Afghans fleeing conflict at home, have arrived in Greece from the nearby Turkish coast so far this year. The vast majority pass through Greece, heading north through the Balkans overland toward the more prosperous countries of the European Union.

A search was also continuing east of Lesbos for between 10 and 12 people missing in a separate sinking Saturday morning east of Lesbos. The coast guard rescued 11 people in that incident, and recovered an unconscious girl from the water, who later died in hospital. Another two people managed to swim ashore, while a man among the survivors was treated in a hospital for hypothermia.

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