GREECE. Athens: At least 16 migrants have died and 30 more are missing after Greek authorities attempted to investigate a migrant boat that sank after hitting a rocky area in stormy waters near the island of Kythira on Wednesday, according to the coast guard.
Around 80 migrants were rescued after their boat broke up near cliffs in stormy weather near the island of Kythira in southern Greece.
Authorities had launched a search and rescue operation to save around 100 migrants who had been on board the vessel.
The rescues happened after dozens scrambled out of the vessel near the village port of Diakofti.
One resident described seeing the boat “smashing against the rocks” and people climbing up to them to try and “save themselves.”
Rescuers lowered ropes down so that survivors could climb up the cliffs and reach safety.
Rescuers claim 15 more are still missing. The search may continue well into Thursday.
Further east, a total of 16 bodies have been recovered by rescuers near the island of Lesbos after a dinghy carrying around 40 people got into difficulty on Wednesday night.
Nine people were rescued and around 15 remained missing.
Kythira is an island lying opposite the southeastern tip of the Peloponnese Peninsula.
Greece was one of the few countries on the frontline of Europe’s largest migration crisis in 2015 and 2016, when a million refugees who were desperate to flee the war and poverty descended from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan via the route of Turkey.
The country has consistently blamed Turkey for not taking appropriate measures to prevent migrants from attempting the dangerous journey.
The number of migrant arrivals has plummeted sharply due to a tough crackdown on its migration policies, but attempts to cross the sea on unpredictable and small boats and dinghies, braving horrible weather conditions, continue as refugees grow desperate to flee their war-stricken homelands.