A big search and rescue operation is underway off south Peloponnese after a fishing boat carrying dozens of migrants capsized and sank on early Wednesday morning. So far, 32 bodies have been recovered and 104 people have been rescued, while there are fears for dozens of missing.
- Death toll has risen to 59, media report as of 2 p.m. Wednesday.
- The number of hospitalized survivors has increased to 29.
UPDATE 3:00 p.m.
- The number of recovered bodies has increased to 78, state-run broadcaster ERT reported short after 3p.m.
- Coast Guard sources told media that there may have been 700 t0 750 people on board of the sank boat. They added that they saw lots of people onboard on footage from survivors’ mobiles.
- The number of rescued people has not changed and remains stuck at 104.
The majority of the drown migrants are young men, state broadcaster ERT reported at 12:30 noon, while the SAR is ongoing.
Rescued migrants arrive at the port of Kalamata with a private yacht that was sailing near the accident area – via local media tharrosnews.gr.
Four survivors have been been flown with a Super Puma helicopter to a hospital in Kalamata where they remain with hypothermia symptoms.
Authorities in Kalamata are on high alert, the first provisional facilities for the survivors have been already set up at the port of the city in southern Peloponnese, local media argolikeseidiseis report.
Ambulances have rushed to the port to provide aid for the needy survivors.
The Italy-bound boat Greek authorities and the EU border protection agency Frontex were first alerted about the approaching vessel by the Italian coast guard on Tuesday.
Smugglers are increasingly taking larger boats into international waters off the Greek mainland to try to avoid local coast guard patrols.
Meanwhile off the island of Crete and in another SAR operation on Wednesday, a yacht with more than 70 migrants on board was towed to a port on the south coast of the island of Crete after authorities received a distress call.