ATHENS, Greece (AP) — One more person from a migrant boat shipwreck has been found alive, Greece’s coast guard said Wednesday, bringing the total number of survivors to 11 from the sailboat that capsized and sank in rough seas east of Athens with reportedly about 68 people on board.
A search and rescue operation continued for a second day in the treacherous Kafireas Strait, between the islands of Evia and Andros east of the Greek capital. A coast guard patrol boat recovered the body of a man from the area on Wednesday morning, the only confirmed fatality from the sinking — meaning that 56 people remain missing.
The coast guard said the 11th survivor was found early Wednesday on land on the southern tip of Evia. The survivors, all men, include six Egyptians, three Afghans and two Iranians, and all have been taken to the town of Karystos on Evia.
The first nine were rescued Tuesday from an uninhabited islet south of Evia in the early hours of Tuesday, and had told authorities they had been on a sailing boat that had departed from Izmir in Turkey with 68 people on board. The 10th man was plucked from the sea hours later by a cargo ship participating in the rescue operation.
A separate search and rescue operation continued for a third day in the eastern Aegean off the island of Samos, which lies near the Turkish coast, for seven people still missing after a dinghy reportedly carrying 12 people capsized on Monday. Four people, who the coast guard said were all Palestinians, were rescued on Monday and one body was recovered on Tuesday.
Greek Shipping Minister Giannis Plakiotakis, who is also responsible for the coast guard, slammed Turkey on Tuesday for allowing “ruthless smuggling rings to send people to their deaths, with Greece saving as many as it can.”
Thousands of people fleeing conflict and poverty in Africa, Asia and the Middle East attempt to enter the European Union through Greece each year.
Most make the short but often perilous crossing from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands in inflatable dinghies. Others opt to attempt to circumvent Greece in overcrowded sailboats and yachts heading straight to Italy.
At least 27 people drowned in two separate incidents last month. In one, 18 people died when a boat that had set sail from Turkey sank off the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos. In the other, a yacht carrying about 100 people sank in a gale, killing at least nine and leaving six missing.
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