On Wednesday, Greek authorities announced they recovered twenty bodies of migrants off the island of Evia after a boat sank on Tuesday. Dozens are still missing.
Twelve migrants have been rescued, the Hellenic (Greek) Coast Guard said. Among them are six Egyptians, three Afghanis, and two Iranians.
A large-scale search-and-rescue operation was launched after the sinking of a boat carrying sixty-eight migrants, according to the initial statements of rescued migrants.
Also participating in the search and rescue operation are a coast guard helicopter and two vessels sailing nearby.
Weather conditions in the area have improved. On Tuesday, strong northerly winds of seven to eight Beaufort and wind gusts of up to nine Beaufort hampered the rescue efforts.
According to an official Hellenic Coast Guard announcement, the operation began after a distress signal was sent by passengers on the vessel to the 112 hotline.
In a separate incident, Greek rescue crews are searching for eight people reported missing after a boat believed to have been carrying migrants capsized off the eastern Aegean island of Samos.
The coast guard says four people have been rescued—two by a fishing boat and another two by a vessel of the European border patrol agency, Frontex.
Survivors told authorities a total of twelve people had been on board the dinghy when it capsized south of Samos.
Greece says Turkey does not prevent migrants from sailing
In October, at least seventeen migrants died after two separate boats sank off Lesvos and Kythera.
Greece’s Immigration and Asylum Minister Notis Mitarakis urged Turkey to take measures to prevent migrant boats from leaving the coast during harsh weather conditions.
Most migrants reaching Greece travel from neighboring Turkey, but smugglers have changed routes in recent months to avoid heavily patrolled waters around Greek islands near the Turkish coastline.
The country has repeatedly blamed Turkey for not taking sufficient measures to stop migrants from making the dangerous journey.
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