At least 79 people have died and dozens missing after a fishing boat capsized off the coast of southern Greece, according to Authorities. A large-scale search and rescue operation was immediately launched.
According to the Greek Coast Guard, the boat’s engine broke down prior to the incident, which caused people on the deck to move around and it was the movement that ultimately caused it to capsize.
The incident, which happened late at night, occurred near the deepest area of the Mediterranean Sea, which has made rescue efforts difficult. Strong winds the following morning also complicated the search.
Nevertheless, the crew successfully rescued 104 people, 25 of whom were sent to hospital for hypothermia treatment. The other exhausted survivors are resting in a makeshift rest area in a large warehouse at the southern port of Kalamata.
Many of the rescued migrants were given dry clothes at the temporary shelter and paramedics have also set up tents outside for those who require medical attention.
The survivors of the migrant boat were also given psychological support, according to Katerina Tsata, who leads a local Red Cross volunteer group.
So far, 79 bodies have been recovered by the Greek coast guard. Out of the group of survivors, 30 are from Egypt, 35 are from Syria, 10 are from Pakistan, and two are from Palestine.
Migrant Boat Refused Assistant Prior to Capsizing
Two merchant ships and an aircraft spotted the boat moving north after the first alert, according to the local coast guard. More ships and aircraft were immediately dispatched to the area. However, the repeated calls they made offering help were ultimately declined by the vessel.
A second ship that arrived later that night offered further assistance and supplies, which were refused. They also confirmed the presence of a large number of individuals on the boat, including 100 children.
Allegedly, the boat’s efforts to help further “complicated” the situation after they anchored themselves to the vessel with a rope and began throwing bottles of water onto the deck. Many of those on board feared that the rope would cause their boat to flip; they were also concerned that people would start fighting over the water, which would cause it to capsize.
Without a doubt, it’s one of the biggest migrant tragedies in recent years. Since the incident, many people who had loved ones on the boat have been holding out for “good news”. Shaheen Sheikh Ali, who is originally from Syria but now resides in Germany, stated that he knew something horrific had happened after seeing frantic messages in a family texting group. He later learned that four of his relatives had been on the capsized vessel.