At least 16 people drowned on April 24 after an inflatable boat sank in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece’s Lesbos island, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees said.
A search and rescue operation was launched off the coast near Molyvos involving the Greek and Turkish coast guards, European Border and Coast Guard Agency Frontex and local fishermen after a Frontex vessel found five bodies.
The Greek coast guard and Frontex found at least nine bodies in Greek waters – six women, two men and one child – and the Turkish coast guard found a further seven – six men and one child.
According to the UNHCR, these are the first confirmed deaths in Greek waters in 2017.
Two people, including a pregnant woman were rescued. They told UNHCR staff they were on a dinghy carrying 20 to 25 people when it capsized at around 22:00 the night before.
UNHCR said around 25 people were on board the boat when it left Turkey.
UNHCR data shows 4,796 people arrived in Greece to April 17. An average of around 46 people a day make the crossing from Turkey successfully.
On April 21 it was reported that at least 849 people –including 150 children – have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea so far this year.