The Weekend Leader - 7 killed as refugee boat capsizes off Greek island

7 killed as refugee boat capsizes off Greek island



At least seven people were killed when a boat carrying dozens of refugees capsized off the coast of the Greek island of Lesvos in the Aegean Sea on Tuesday, the media reported.

Three minors were among the victims, all of them of African origin. The Greek Coast Guard rescued 57 refugees and migrants, also from Africa, officials said.

Survivors said that they had set off from the Turkish shore in a plastic dinghy at about 2 a.m. (local time) on Tuesday, but the overloaded boat capsized shortly before reaching the island of Lesvos, even though the weather at the time was calm, Xinhua news agency reported.

The rescue operation was carried out by the Greek Coast Guard, European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) vessels as well as a Super Puma helicopter of the Greek Air Force.

The operation was called off after all those on board had been accounted for, the Greek Coast Guard said.

Hundreds of people have perished in the Aegean since 2015 when thousands of refugees and migrants started risking their lives to cross from Turkey into Europe, seeking refuge from war zones and extreme poverty. 

More than one million people reached Greece to continue their journey to other European countries until the closure of borders in 2016. Half of them landed on Lesvos' shores. IANS

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