Three children and one woman died in the Aegean Sea on Tuesday after a dinghy boat capsized between the island of Chios and Turkey.
According to the Greek Coast Guard, 27 people were aboard the boat as it went down near Chios. Twenty-two of those were rescued, while one was still missing.
The boat, carrying African migrants, capsized in the early hours of the morning and sent an emergency signal at 6:10am.
Local media reports say that two coast guard vessels, two helicopters, a German NATO-mission military ship and three fishing vessels took part in the rescue operation.
The Greek Coast Guard confirmed in a statement that 14 men, 7 women and one child had been rescued from the dinghy.
None of the four victims were wearing “personal life jackets,” they said.
“The boat in question had started from the Turkish coast loaded with a large number of passengers,” the statement read.
With winds reaching up to 6 on the Beaufort scale, authorities said adverse weather conditions were partly to blame for the incident, but reported that “all the rescued foreigners who are in good health were transported to the port of Chios.”
“This is the reality of the exploitation of migrants by criminal gangs in the Aegean,” Greece’s migration minister Notis Mitarachi said in a tweet, adding that Turkey needs to do more to “prevent exploitation by criminal gangs at source.”
“These journeys should never be allowed to happen,” Mitarachi said in another tweet.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, more than 2,500 people have crossed the Aegean Sea to Greece from neighboring Turkey this year. In 2020, 9,700 made the same crossing, while more than 100 others died or remain missing.
Featured image courtesy of Notis Mitarachi via Twitter
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