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Greece Launches Inquiry into Deadly Migrant Shipwreck

Migrant shipwreck
The survivors were all men and spent the first night at a temporary accommodation in Kalamata, Greece. Credit: AMNA

Greece has launched two inquiries into the deadly migrant shipwreck that has claimed at least 78 lives, while many more perhaps hundreds are missing presumed dead.

Supreme Court Prosecutor Isidoros Dogiakos on Thursday appointed a Supreme Criminal Court deputy prosecutor to supervise the investigation, while the Kalamata Coast Guard announced the launch of its own inquiry into the sinking of the boat.

“There is not a specific number of arrests of persons suspected of being the traffickers of the irregular migrants on board the fatal fishing boat,” the Coast Guard said in a statement on Thursday.

It also amended the confirmed body count, saying the number of bodies recovered was 78 and not 79.

Bodies from migrant shipwreck transferred to Athens

The bodies of the dead migrants recovered after the sinking of a migrant boat off the coast of Pylos were transferred to Athens on Thursday.

The bodies were transported in refrigerator trucks to a special facility in Schisto, in order to undergo post mortem examinations that will clarify the causes of death.

The autopsies will be carried out by the Coroner’s services in Athens and Pireaus as there in no such facility in Kalamata.

Meanwhile, a search-and-rescue operation to locate more persons missing at sea continued through the night in the area around the shipwreck, without success, as the number of persons rescued remains at 104 and no new dead bodies were recovered. Two coast guard vessels, a helicopter and six ships sailing in the area were participating in the search.

About 30 dead bodies were loaded onto refrigerator trucks at Kalamata port and samples will be taken from them for DNA analysis to aid in identification. The survivors that were not taken to hospital spent the night in a specially adapted area in the port.

Police, fire brigade and coast guard vehicles and personnel arrived at the port early in the morning to provide assistance in the operation, along with trucks bringing food and water.

Survivors of the shipwreck are all men

Talking to the state-run Athens-Macedonian News Agency, a nurse with the Hellenic Red Cross in Kalamata, Katerina Tsata, said that the first night had gone well and some of those taken to hospital had already returned.

She noted that the survivors were exhausted, both physically and mentally, and in need of psychosocial support, while many had been prescribed medication that the Red Cross was preparing to procure for them.

The survivors of the shipwreck are all men, aged between 16 and 40 years old, and the problems reported were mainly hypothermia, fainting and hypoglycemic episodes and pneumonia.

In the meantime, relatives who fear their loved ones were on board the fishing vessel have been desperately appealing for information, with some arriving in Kalamata port.

One man living in Germany was looking for his 18-year-old brother, whom he had last spoken to six days earlier and knew only that he set off from Syria to reach Italy.

Another man based in Cyprus knew that his nephew had been on board the fishing boat but was unable to find him among the survivors.

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