Coast Guard spokesperson commander Nikos Kokkalas said to the Athens-Macedonian News Agency that 12 migrants have been rescued so far (seven men, four teenagers and a woman) who were on an auxiliary boat while a man’s body was located and was transferred to nearby Santorini.
As he said, all the rescued migrants have been transferred for precautionary reasons to the hospital of Santorini.
A large search and rescue operation has been launched after the boat sank some 180 kilometers (112 miles) southeast of Athens.
Survivors said there were originally 32 people on the boat, but one told authorities there were about 50.
The coast guard said the operation began Tuesday night after it received information that a vessel carrying migrants had suffered engine failure and later began taking on water south of Folegandros.
Greece is one of the most popular routes into the European Union for people fleeing conflict and poverty in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Most attempt to cross in dinghies from the Turkish shore to the nearby eastern Aegean Greek islands.
Folegandros, one of the southern islands in the Cyclades, is not along a usual route for migrant smugglers.