Greek coast guard rescues 38 migrants off western coast

AP News
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Posted: May 19, 2015 9:18 AM

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Greek coast guard rescued 38 migrants Tuesday found on a small boat off the country's western coast in the Ionian Sea, following a search and rescue operation launched after one of the passengers called authorities for help.

The migrant boat was found off the island of Paxoi and those on board were rescued by a coast guard patrol boat and a private vessel sailing in the area, the coast guard said.

Authorities had said they believed 45 people were on board, but later revised the figure downwards and said there were no reports of anyone missing.

It was not immediately clear what type of problem the boat had experienced, or where the migrants were from.

Tens of thousands of migrants cross from the nearby Turkish coast into Greece each year, hoping to make their way to more prosperous European Union countries.

From Greece, many try to go head north overland through Macedonia or Albania, while others attempt to sail to Italy or sneak onto Italy-bound ferries sailing from western Greek ports.