At least 21 die in boat sinkings off Greek islands

by Abel Hampton January 22, 2016, 16:11

At least 21 people including eight children died after their boats sank off the Greek islands of Farmakonisi and Kalolimnos early Friday, with dozens of other migrants reported missing, the coastguard said.

The coastguard recovered the bodies of six kids and a girl.

On Thursday at least 12 refugees, including children, drowned off the Turkish coast as their boat tried to reach Greece.

The coastguard rescued 26 people and recovered the bodies of 34 migrants in one of the worst incidents in months, the official said.

A statement from the coastguard added that 48 survivors managed to swim to the Greek coast of Farmakonisi "after the first boat hit rocks around 0030 GMT as it was making the perilous crossing from Turkey".

The Coast Guard continued their search in the morning while the exact number of missing remains unknown, but may be several tens according to the testimonies of survivors who left the Turkish coast, said the same source.

Authorities said survivors' estimates of how many people were on board varied from about 40 to 70.

Fleeing war, thousands of mainly Syrian refugees have braved rough seas this year to make the short but precarious journey from Turkey to Greece's islands, from which most continue to mainland Greece and northward into wealthier western Europe.

The IOM reported 77 people died between January 1 and January 17, as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea.

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