At least three people drowned on Friday after their wooden boat sank in the narrow stretch of water separating Turkey from the Greek island of Kalymnos, Greek port police said. A woman’s body was recovered by a Greek patrol boat, while two other bodies were found in Turkish waters.
The Greek authorities were alerted that the boat was in distress. As a patrol arrived the boat sank. The survivors 14 adults and a child said there were up to 24 people onboard the vessel when it set out from Turkey. Search efforts were continuing Friday, in a bid to find any more survivors.
Hundreds of people, mostly Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans, have died since 2015 as they tried to cross from Turkey to Greece in often rickety boats. The numbers dropped dramatically after March last year, when Turkey and the EU agreed a deal to stem the flow of people.
But the numbers have started to rise again since August, with some 5,000 migrants arriving on Greek islands in September, the UN says. More than a dozen Syrian refugees are on hunger strike in Athens to highlight the plight of 2,000 people waiting for at least six months to be allowed to rejoin families, mainly in Germany.
Greek migration minister Yiannis Mouzalas said on Wednesday that the increase in arrivals was causing “major difficulties” on the islands.