Fourteen people and a body found on Greek island after boat tragedy

Greek authorities say the refugees and migrants who survived boarded a dinghy in Turkey that ultimately sank.

Migrants Mediterrean
People on a dinghy with a broken motor drift as they try to reach the Greek Island of Kos after leaving Bodrum, Turkey, with hopes of crossing the Mediterrean Sea [File: Umit Bektas/Reuters]

A group of 14 refugees and migrants and the body of a man have been found on the shore of Farmakonisi, a tiny Greek island in the eastern Aegean Sea.

Authorities said on Tuesday the victim and survivors – five men, six women and three children – had apparently arrived on the remote island from the Turkish coast in a dinghy that sank.

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While it is not immediately clear how the man died, the survivors have been taken to the nearby Leros island, the coastguard said.

Greece is a preferred European entry point for people from Africa and Asia, seeking refuge from conflict and poverty.

According to the United Nations, more than 15,000 people have reached Greece by sea and land so far this year.

More than 1,800 people have been reported dead or missing along the Central Mediterranean route in 2023, according to the International Organization for Migration; the route accounts for more than 75 per cent of the victims in the entire Mediterranean over the past 10 years.

Last week, the Greek coastguard rescued 18 people when their boat capsized off the coast of the island of Lesbos, while four from that group died, reportedly due to delayed search and rescue operations.

In June, a battered fishing trawler heading from Libya to Italy with an estimated 500 people on board sank in international waters off southwestern Greece.

Only 104 survivors were found and inquiries continue over the alleged slow rescue response of Greek authorities.

Athens attributes the surging arrivals over the past few months to good summer weather and blames smugglers for taking advantage of the situation.

But humanitarian groups and search and rescue watchdogs decry Greece’s tough asylum policies and accuse it of illegally pushing back potential asylum seekers at sea.

Source: News Agencies, The Associated Press