At least 18 migrants killed when two boats wreck in Greek waters

A sailboat with 95 people on board has been wrecked in Cythera and a boat carrying 40 migrants has sunk in Lesbos

At least 18 migrants have died and dozens are unaccounted for after two boats were wrecked overnight Wednesday in Greek waters, local media reported.

At around 21.00 local time, a shipwreck took place one nautical mile from the port of the town of Diakofti, on the island of Cythera, where winds of up to 100 kilometers per hour were recorded, weather conditions unfavorable for the proper conduct of rescue operations by the Greek Coast Guard, the portal Kythera News reported.

According to the latest report, the Coast Guard, the Greek Police and local authorities have sighted the bodies of three people and 80 people have been rescued. According to the statement of the rescued people, 95 migrants were on board the boat, and the search for 15 other people is still ongoing.

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The second of the shipwrecks has taken place near the island of Lesbos after the sinking of a boat in which, according to the first information, about 40 migrants were on board.

The authorities have so far counted the death of 15 people. Also, the rescue of nine migrants has been carried out and three people are being removed from a rocky and steep area, as reported by the newspaper ‘Ethnos’.

The search is still ongoing for 16 other people who were on board the boat.

Greece’s Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis has launched on Twitter an “urgent appeal” to Turkey, asking it to take “immediate actions” with which to stop the migratory flow, at a time with “bad weather conditions in the area.”

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Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will coincide this Thursday in Prague at the first meeting of the consolidate a new ‘European Political Community’, which brings together EU countries with other partners on the continent, although no bilateral meeting between the two is planned.

“Too many lives have already been lost in the Aegean. People are drowning in unseaworthy boats,” added the minister, who also called on the European Union to take action.

Before Thursday’s shipwrecks, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) had already confirmed the deaths of more than 230 people in the eastern Mediterranean. Some 2,100 migrants and refugees have perished in this area since 2014.

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