ATHENS, Greece (AP) – At least 16 people died after a migrant boat capsized in the Aegean Sea late Friday, bringing the three-day death toll from such shipwrecks in Greek waters to at least 30.
The deadly accidents came as smugglers who arrange sea crossings for Europe-bound asylum-seekers increasingly favor a perilous route from Turkey to Italy, avoiding Greece´s heavily patrolled eastern Aegean islands that were a prime destination for years.
The Greek coast guard said Saturday that 63 people were rescued after a sailboat capsized late Friday some 8 kilometers (5 miles) off the island of Paros, in the central Aegean. The coast guard reported 13 deaths as of late Friday, but three more bodies were found early Saturday.
Survivors told the coast guard that about 80 people had been on the vessel. The boat was towed to a nearby port, and authorities said the search for survivors and victims continued.
Earlier, 11 people were confirmed dead after a sailboat struck a rocky islet some 235 kilometers (145 miles) south of Athens, near the island of Antikythera, on Thursday. The coast guard said Friday that 90 survivors – 52 men, 11 women and 27 children – were rescued after spending hours on the islet.