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Shipwreck: Nine Egyptians arrested as suspects of trafficking gang

Nine Egyptian men arrested as the suspected traffickers of the migrants on board the sunken fishing boat off Pylos were led before a public prosecutor in Kalamat late on Thursday and charged.

They were given until Monday to prepare their testimony.

The nine men are accused for forming a criminal organization for the illegal entry of migrants, causing a shipwreck and endangering lives.

The men, aged 26, 21, 40, 36, 32, 26, 22, 29 and 20 years old, respectively, were the crew of the fishing boat and each is believed to have had a distinct role in the transportation of the migrants.

Eight are being held at the Kalamata police station, while the ninth remains under guard at Kalamata hospital.

According to state broadcaster ERT, the men had an internet site where they were offering illegal transports for the price of 4,000 to 6,000 euros per person.

The fishing boat had reportedly left Egypt over the weekend, made a stop in eastern Libya where more passengers went on board and then set sail for Italy.

The search-and-rescue operation in the area 47 nautical miles south of Greece continues also on Friday morning even if chances to find survivors after the shipwreck at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning are very slim.

Usually SAR operations conclude after 72 hours.

The number of confirmed dead remains unchanged at 78 the number of survivors remains also unchanged at 104 since Wednesday.

Based on survivor testimonies, the number of missing persons could be 568.

Meanwhile, the first 68 survivors were transferred from Kalamata port in south Peloponnese to Malakasa camp in east Attica on Friday morning.

Short before boarding on a bus, 18-year-old survivor Mohammed from Syria was located by his brother Fardi who had traveled from Holland to Kalamata to find his brother.

*thumbnail picture via local tharrosnews.gr

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