Greece: 3 dead, 302 people rescued from boat

2016-06-03 14:03
In this file photo people jump into the sea before their boat overturns off the Libyan coast. (AP)

In this file photo people jump into the sea before their boat overturns off the Libyan coast. (AP)

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Athens - Greek authorities said on Friday three bodies had been recovered and 302 people rescued from a sinking migrant boat carrying a "significant number" of people in the Mediterranean Sea south of Crete.

The coast guard said the roughly 25m vessel, which resembled a large fishing boat, had been carrying an undetermined number of people when it was located half-sunk about 75 nautical miles south of Crete in international waters and within Egypt's search and rescue area of operation.

Greece was sending two patrol vessels, a military airplane and three helicopters, while five passing ships were participating in the rescue operation and one more was on its way. The coast guard said the operation was continuing to locate any potentially missing passengers from the migrant boat.

It was not immediately clear where the boat's passengers were from, or where the vessel had set off from or was heading to.

The short crossing from the Turkish coast to Greek islands was the preferred route for migrants heading to Europe until Balkan countries closed their borders and the European Union reached an agreement with Turkey to stem the flow of people.

Under that deal, those arriving on Greek islands from March 20 onwards face deportation back to Turkey unless they successfully apply for asylum in Greece, a financially troubled country few migrants or refugees want to stay in.

Read more on:    eu  |  turkey  |  egypt  |  greece  |  migrants

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