Greece’s caretaker Prime Minister Ioannis Sarmas declared a three-day national mourning for the dozens of victims of the shipwreck, 47 nautical miles south of Peloponnese, early morning Wednesday.
By 9 p.m. Wednesday, the death toll has reached 79 bodies have been recovered and 104 people have been rescued. Dozens of migrants are considered as missing after the fishing boat capsized and sank.
28 shipwreck survivors are hospitalized either with hypothermia symptoms or with injuries.
Survivors are men, young and middle aged.
They have been brought to halls at the port of Kalamata , were given a mattress and a blanket to sleep, food and first aid if needed.
picture via @savvaskarmaniolas
Citing survivors, Coast Guard sources told media that many people, mostly women and children, were in the hold of the 30-meter-long boat.
It is estimated that some 700 to 750 people were on board.
According to state broadcaster ERT, port authorities of Kalamata have taken three men for interrogation under suspicion they are the human traffickers.
Recovery of the bodies from the shipwreck is considered as nearly impossible due to a sea depth of 4,500 meters.
It is not clear what caused the overloaded boat to capsize as the weather conditions were pretty fair and the boat was contacted by the Greek Coast Guard and the FRONTEX that offered help but boat people denied it saying they wanted to reach Italy, media reported.
Alarm Phone, which operates a trans-European network supporting rescue operations, said it received alerts from people on board a ship in distress off Greece late on Tuesday, subsequently losing contact.
According to a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s press office the national mourning starts at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, and is in effect until 9:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 17, 2023.
The National Mourning is “for the victims of today’s tragic shipwreck in international waters west of Greece, with thoughts also for all the victims of unscrupulous traffickers who take advantage of human misery,” the statement concluded.
With the country being two weeks before the June 25 elections, party leaders cancelled their scheduled gatherings on Wednesday.
It is still open whether the party leaders debate on TV will take place on Thursday evening as scheduled.
*thumbnail picture taken by FRONTEX Drone before the boat sank.