The Coast Guard said 90 people ‒ 52 men, 11 women and 27 children ‒ were rescued overnight and early Friday from a rocky islet some 235 kilometers (145 miles) south of Athens.
The search and rescue operation by the Greek Coast Guard continues.
According to reports, the migrants called for help on Thursday through the European dialing number 112, stating that about 100 people on board were facing serious problems.
The boat had sailed from the coast of Turkey. Its final destination is thought to have been Italy.
“We are extremely saddened at reports that at least seven people lost their lives in a shipwreck north of Antikythera,” the Greek office of the United Nations Refugee Agency, (UNHCR), tweeted before the divers helped recover four more bodies. “People need safe alternatives to these perilous crossings.”
The Coast Guard released a video of the rescue operation. It showed people being put into life rafts and transferred to a patrol boat. The survivors were being brought to the port of Piraeus, near Athens.
Three migrants die as boat sinks off Folegandros Island
This is the second incident involving migrants who lost their lives trying to cross the Aegean this week. A least three people died and dozens of migrants are missing after a boat sank off the coast of the island of Folegandros in the Aegean early on Wednesday.
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.
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.
Antikythera and Folegandros, among the southern islands of the Aegean, are not along a usual route taken by migrant smugglers.