Migrant sailboat sinks in Aegean; one dead, 15 missing

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 07, 2015 7:56 AM

By Lefteris Karagiannopoulos

ATHENS (Reuters) - One person died and at least 15 were missing in the Aegean sea on Tuesday after a sailboat carrying migrants sank in waters between Turkey and Greece, Greek authorities said.

Greece's maritime ministry said Greek and Turkish rescue efforts had saved 21 of the between 37 and 40 migrants believed to be on board when the boat went down between the Greek islands of Farmakonisi and Agathonisi. One person was found dead.

Their nationalities were not known.

"The operation will continue through the night, only with fewer boats," said a spokeswoman for Greece's maritime ministry.

More than 135,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe by sea in the first half of this year, many of them fleeing war, repression and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. Most are Syrians.

Greece is the largest arrival point, putting a huge strain on the country as it wrestles with one of the worst economic crises of modern times.

(Reporting by Lefteris Karagiannopoulos; Writing by Matt Robinson; editing by Ralph Boulton)