At least 22 refugees dead after boats capsize off Samos in Greece

The Greek Coastguard has rescued 38 people and a 2-year-old boy who were among more than 60 on board two dinghies when they sank 4,5 nautic miles off Samos

Twenty two migrants have drowned and among them 4 children … are missing after their boats capsized in the Aegean sea, Greece’s coastguard said on Monday.

More than 60 migrants of unknown nationality had attempted to cross the sea from neighbouring Turkey when their two dinghies capsized near the Greek island of Samos, the coastguard said.

It has so far picked up 39 survivors and twenty two dead, and the operation is ongoing.

“Two drowned bodies were found and 36 migrants have been rescued … ” an official told Reuters.

Authorities said they did not yet know the nationality of the migrants. Two air force helicopters, assisted by two coastguard vessels, one navy warship and a cruise liner were searching for the missing, the coast guard official said.

Most of the corpses were found inside the boat, among them also a mother holding a baby in her arms. In total 22 women were found dead, six men and four children (three boys and one girl).

Most of the survivors come from Somalia and Erithrea. They were transferred to Samos Coast Guard. Non of the survivors has asked for the 2-year-old boy so it seems his parents are among the dead. IN Samos hospital three men are hospitalised with Hyothermia.

The 12 metre boat had a smaller boat behind it where also migrants were.

Two boats of the Greek coast guard and one of Frontex, one cargo ship and three fisher boats and one of the navy are in the area. Earlier also the cruiseliner Adamora was near.
Frontex had informed about the capsizing at 4 o’clock in the morning.

Minister of Aegean and Marine Mr. Varvitiostis said by this chance that the Hellenic Coast Guard was carrying out a titan job. He expressed his “deep sorrow and pain” for the loss of lives in today’s tragedy north of Samos in a statement. “Despite the constant and unremitting efforts of the staff of the Coast Guard,” says the minister, “for the protection of people in distress at sea lives are lost at the maritime borders in Southeastern Europe and this is a truly tragic fact.”
“The Greek Coast Guard” the minister continued, “is realising a Herculean task in the last months faithfully serving its basic dogma “no human life in danger at sea” while confronting a multidimensional but at the same time European problem, such as that of illegal immigration by sea. Despite these efforts, the modern “smugglers” continue to “get rich” by endangering thousands of lives whom they board them during night in small and inappropriate boats on the Aegean sea,” he noted among others.

Guardian (in english)
tvxs (in greek)
translated from hurriyet on greek blog