4 children die as migrant boat capzises off Greece

2015-11-17 20:27
Refugees and migrants disembark from a dinghy at the Greek island of Lesbos. Nine people died when a dinghy capsized near the island of Kos. (Santi Palacios)

Refugees and migrants disembark from a dinghy at the Greek island of Lesbos. Nine people died when a dinghy capsized near the island of Kos. (Santi Palacios)

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Athens - Nine people, four of them children, drowned when a boat carrying migrants from Turkey sank off the Greek island of Kos, the coastguard said on Tuesday.

They were the latest of nearly 3 500 deaths at sea this year among people making desperate bids to flee war and poverty and to reach Europe, according to UN figures.

The coastguard said four women were among the latest victims and that the search was still underway late on Tuesday for two boys whose family said they were from Iraq.

Seven passengers on the boat were rescued. An earlier provisional toll had put the number of deaths at eight.

The boat, which came from nearby Turkey and capsized overnight, was spotted by the crew of a Finnish ship participating in operations by Frontex, the EU's border security agency.

A 3-year-old child died on Saturday off Greece's Chios island further north when the motor of the vessel he was travelling in exploded.

More than 800 000 migrants, mostly fleeing war and persecution in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, have crossed the Mediterranean this year to reach Europe.

The vast majority have reached Greek shores, from where they travel up to the Balkans and on towards countries like Germany and Sweden where they apply for asylum.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was set to visit Turkey, starting on Tuesday, to urge authorities to impose stricter controls on the trafficking of migrants into Europe.

Athens fears coming under new EU pressure over the migrant crisis after the discovery at the scene of one of Friday's Paris attacks of a Syrian passport registered in the Greek island of Leros on October 3.

Read more on:    turkey  |  greece  |  migrants

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