Four migrants, three of them children, drowned on Tuesday after a boat in which they and 23 others were trying to cross from Turkey to Greece sank, the Greek coast guard said.
Greece is one of the main routes into the European Union for asylum-seekers crossing from Turkey in flimsy, overcrowded rubber boats. But the number of arrivals has fallen sharply in recent years and deadly shipwrecks have become rare.
The boat sank off the Greek island of Chios where strong winds were blowing, a coast guard statement said.
Twenty-two people were rescued and one person is believed to be missing, it said. Their nationalities were not immediately made public.
“The boat in question had sailed from the Turkish coast loaded with a large number of passengers. This fact, in combination with the adverse weather conditions, led to the detachment of the hull.
This is the reality of the exploitation of migrants by criminal gangs in the Aegean. Unscrupulous smugglers endangering lives in overcrowded, non-seaworthy boats off Chios,” Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi tweeted.
Ten vessels and two helicopters assisted in the rescue operation, the coast guard said.
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