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Six bodies recovered off Greek island of Lesbos

Six bodies recovered off Greek island of Lesbos

At least 16 people, including two children, drowned after an inflatable boat carrying refugees and migrants sank off Greece's Lesbos island, authorities said on Monday.

Greek authorities had received no distress call prior to finding the bodies, the coastguard spokeswoman said.

Eight of the bodies were recovered in Greek waters while the Turkish coastguard found another seven bodies, a Greek coastguard spokeswoman tells AFP.

Greece's coast guard said authorities on Monday had recovered the bodies of six women, two men and a child in Greece, while Turkish authorities had picked up the bodies of six men and a child.

Boats from the Greek coast guard as well as from Frontex then scrambled to try to find the vessel which was finally located at 11am local time.

Several more were believed to be missing.

One of the rescued women was pregnant. Vessels from the Greek coast guard and navy, Frontex and a private boat have undertaken a search operation.

The U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR, said one of the women was believed to be from Congo and the other from Cameroon.

In the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, some 1,000 refugees attended a soccer day Sunday in which they watched a live broadcast on giant screens of a match between Barcelona and Real Madrid. The exact number of people originally on board the dinghy remains unknown.

In that year, Lesbos was the main gateway into the European Union for almost a million Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans.

Most undertake the short but risky journey on overloaded inflatable dinghies or occasionally sailboats.

According to UNHCR, around 4,900 people have tried to make the crossing from Turkey to Greece since the beginning of this year, compared with 173,450 reported arrivals in 2016.

Greece is still hosting thousands of refugees and migrants who arrived before the EU-Turkey deal.


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