At least seventeen migrants died and dozens are missing after two separate boats sank off Greece on Wednesday evening.
The Greek Coast Guard announced that seventeen migrants, sixteen women and a fifteen-year-old boy drowned as their boat sank off the island of Lesvos. Ten women were rescued from the boat which is believed to have been carrying about forty people.
The Coast Guard, Greek Police, Fire Brigade and Army with the help of a Super Puma helicopter of the Air Force are operating in the area in search of at least another fifteen missing persons.
The boat is believed to have left late last night from the Turkish coast near Ayvalik under particularly adverse conditions. In the sea area between Lesvos and Asia Minor coasts, winds of seven and up to eight Beaufort were recorded.
Greece’s Immigration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis urged Turkey to take measures to prevent migrant boats from leaving the coast due to harsh weather conditions.
Urgent call to 🇹🇷 to take immediate action to prevent all irregular departures due to harsh weather conditions. Already today many lives lost in the Aegean, people are drowning in unseaworthy vessels. EU must act.
— Νότης Μηταράκης – Notis Mitarachi (@nmitarakis) October 6, 2022
Migrants missing off Kythera in southern Greece
The second boat sank at Kythera south of the Peloponnese. At least fifteen people are missing after the vessel smashed against rocks. Video footage shows people climbing up to try to save themselves.
Rescuers lowered ropes down to the seafront to help survivors climb up the cliffs to reach safety.
A nearby school has also opened to provide shelter for those who have been rescued, local officials said.
With many people still missing, navy divers are expected to continue searching the area on Thursday.
Ναυάγιο Κύθηρα: Κρεμασμένοι στα βράχια πρόσφυγες, πήγαν κάτοικοι με σκοινιά να τους σώσουν – «Εγκληματικό να στοιβάζεις δεκάδες ανθρώπους σε μια βάρκα με 7 μποφόρ» @ThePressProjecthttps://t.co/m2eMfKbwUU pic.twitter.com/Fweit6TqDC
— Μπάουντι (@teregamwt2) October 6, 2022
The country has repeatedly blamed Turkey for not taking sufficient measures to stop migrants from making the dangerous journey.
Greece releases video of Turkish Coast Guard attacking migrants
On Wednesday, Greece released a video that apparently shows Turkey’s Coast Guard violently pushing a boat full of migrants toward the Greek islands.
The video was released by Greek Migration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis who claims that it was shot by a migrant who was eventually rescued by the Greek Coast Guard.
As is seen in the video, the boat is full of migrants shouting and pleading with officers aboard the vessel of the Turkish Coast Guard, some of whom are using sticks to push the migrants away.
Footage from Turkish coastguard violently pushing forward migrants to Greece, in violation of international law and the EU joint statement. This video was filmed by a refugee who was saved by 🇬🇷. It is further proof of the instrumentalization of migration flows by 🇹🇷 #migration pic.twitter.com/sXG74VxBYo
— Νότης Μηταράκης – Notis Mitarachi (@nmitarakis) October 5, 2022