Eleven Syrians dumped off southern Crete coast

Eleven young men of Syrian origin were being provided with first aid, food and clothing in southern Crete on Monday after being dumped off the coast of the southeastern Aegean island by human traffickers and forced to swim to shore.

All 11 of the would-be migrants told investigating coast guard officers in Rethymno that they had been taken off a larger boat that brought them near Crete and then rowed closer to shore in a dingy from which they were told to jump in the water and swim to safety.

They were found by local residents suffering from exposure before being transported to the local police station of Spili, where they were provided with first aid, food and clothing. They said that journey had cost as much as 5,000 euros per person.

Police were questioning two men, also believed to be Syrians, after a search of their car revealed bundles of wet clothing.

On Saturday, coast guard officers recovered the bodies of 20 immigrants off the coast of Lesvos in the eastern Aegean following the sinking of their vessel amid high winds.

ekathimerini (in english)