ATHENS ( Associated Press) – Greek authorities have launched a major search and rescue effort east of the island of Karpathos, a boat believed to have been carrying dozens of migrants overnight.
The Coast Guard said on Wednesday that twenty-nine people, all of whom were men, had been rescued from the sea 33 nautical miles (61 km; 38 mi) east-southeast of the island, which is between Rhodes and Crete. The survivors, who had come from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, told officials that there were 60 to 80 people on board the boat at the time of the sinking.
According to survivors, the ship had departed from the Antalya region of southern Turkey and was on its way to Italy when it encountered problems overnight.
The Coast Guard said two Coast Guard patrol boats, a Greek Navy vessel, an Air Force helicopter and at least three boats passing through the area were involved in the rescue operation.
The most common route to Europe for asylum seekers from the Middle East, Asia and Africa is from Turkey to the nearby Greek islands.
But with increasing Greek patrols in the Aegean Sea and repeated and persistent reports that Turkey is sending new arrivals back to Greek soil without allowing them to apply for asylum, many are escaping the islands and going straight for a long and long time. Taking a more dangerous route. , The Greek authorities deny carrying out such illegal deportations.