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3 dead, 12 missing as migrant boat capsizes in Aegean Sea

May 26, 2023 at 6:18 pm

Refugees and migrants react as their boat sinks off the Greek island of Lesbos on October 30, 2015 [CHRISTOFILOPOULOS/AFP via Getty Images]

Three migrants were killed and twelve others are still missing after their boat capsized off the Mykonos Island in the Aegean Sea on Friday morning, Greek state broadcaster ERT said, Anadolu Agency reports.

The coast guard has been carrying out a search and rescue operation since the early hours of Friday. Two migrants, a Syrian and a Palestinian, who were on board the boat, were rescued.

Initially, the migrants, who were rescued and transported safely to the island’s port, said six people were aboard the boat, but they later confirmed that 15 people were on the boat.

Several humanitarian groups have continuously accused the Greek government for its treatment of migrants arriving in Greece and its illegal push backs which violate several human rights laws.

In April, video footage recorded on the island of Lesvos by an Austrian activist and later released by the US-based newspaper The New York Times, revealed the illegal push backs the Greek government has been denying.

The video showed 12 migrants, including children and a 6-month-old infant, being transported by a van to a nearby remote area where they were forcefully seen boarding a high-speed inflatable boat.

According to the report, the man who drove the vehicle was wearing a balaclava.

The irregular migrants were later transferred to a Greek Coast Guard vessel before being abandoned on a floating boat in the middle of the Aegean Sea and set adrift until they were picked up by the Turkish Coast Guard.

Former Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, argued that his government’s policy towards irregular migration is tough but fair, and that the video is being investigated.

In 2015-16, Greece was at the epicentre of the migration crisis, with nearly 1 million refugees crossing its borders in search of safety from war-stricken countries.

READ: Greek PM says migrant ‘push back’ inquiry underway, AFP reports