June 14, 2024

Westside People

Complete News World

Greece boat disaster left at least 78 dead and hundreds missing

Greece boat disaster left at least 78 dead and hundreds missing
  • Written by George Wright and Laura Josie
  • BBC News

image source, Greek Coast Guard

photo caption,

The Greek coast guard posted pictures of the crowded boat before it fell

At least 78 people have died and more than 100 have been rescued after their fishing boat sank off southern Greece.

But survivors indicated that as many as 750 people may have been crowded onto the boat, with reports of 100 children in the hold.

Greece says it is one of the biggest migrant tragedies ever, and has declared three days of mourning.

The authorities say their offers of help have been rejected but face allegations that they are not doing enough to help.

The Greek coast guard said the boat went down about 80 km southwest of Pylos just after 02:04 Wednesday morning local time, lowering the earlier confirmed death toll from 79 to 78.

The European border agency Frontex said it had spotted the boat in the early afternoon of Tuesday and had immediately notified the Greek and Italian authorities. The coast guard later said that no one on the ship was wearing life jackets.

In a timeline provided by the Coast Guard, he said initial contact with the fishing boat was made at 14:00 (11:00 GMT) and no request for assistance was made.

Then around 01:40 on Wednesday, someone on the boat is said to have notified the Greek Coast Guard that the ship’s engine had failed.

Shortly thereafter, the boat capsized, taking only ten to fifteen minutes to sink completely. A search and rescue operation has begun but is complicated by high winds.

explain video,

Watch: Survivors move to safety after the Greek boat disaster

Alert Von, an emergency helpline for migrants in trouble at sea, complained that the coast guard was “aware of the ship in distress for hours before sending any help,” adding that authorities were “informed by various sources” that the boat was in trouble. .

She added that people may have been afraid to confront the Greek authorities because they were aware of the “terrible and systematic pushback practices” in the country.

Jerome Tubiana of Doctors Without Borders told French radio that the European and Greek authorities should have intervened earlier. “It is truly appalling to hear that Frontex flew over the boat and no one intervened because the boat rejected all offers of help… An overloaded boat is a boat in distress.”

The boat is believed to have been on its way from Libya to Italy, and most of those on board are believed to be men in their twenties.

Local media reports that they had been traveling for days, adding that a Maltese cargo ship approached the boat on Tuesday afternoon, and was providing them with food and water.

Survivors spoke of as many as 500 to 750 people on board and the regional director of health Yiannis Karvelis warned of an unprecedented tragedy: “The number of people on board was much more than the capacity that should be allowed for this boat.”

One of the survivors told a doctor at Kalamata Hospital that he had seen 100 children in custody.

Coastguard Nikolaos Alexiou told public television that the boat sank in one of the deepest parts of the Mediterranean.

The nationalities of the victims have not yet been announced.

The survivors were taken to Kalamata, many of whom were treated in hospital for hypothermia or minor injuries.

Public broadcaster ERT said three suspected human traffickers had been transferred to the central port authority in Kalamata and were being questioned.

Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou visited some of the rescued and expressed her condolences to those who drowned.

Every year hundreds of people die trying to cross the Mediterranean. In February, a boat carrying migrants capsized near Cutro, in the southern Italian region of Calabria, killing at least 94 people – one of the deadliest accidents ever recorded.

Greece has repeatedly called for a “strong migration policy” for the EU “in order to accept people who are really in need and not just people who have the money to pay smugglers,” said Greek migration ministry official Yiorgos Michaelides.

“At the moment it is the smugglers who decide who comes to Europe,” he told the BBC.

“The issue is for the EU to provide asylum, assistance and safety to those who are in real need. It is not a problem of Greece, Italy or Cyprus… It is the EU that should end up with a strong migration policy.”

Greece is one of the main routes into the European Union for refugees and migrants from the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Last month, the Greek government came under international criticism over a video that was said to show the forced expulsion of migrants who had been swept out to sea.

More than 70,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in frontline countries in Europe this year, most of them in Italy, according to United Nations data.

Are you in Greece? Have you noticed anything we should report? You can share your experiences via e-mail [email protected].

Please include a contact number if you would like to speak to a BBC journalist. You can also contact us in the following ways:

If you are reading this page and cannot see the form, you will need to visit the mobile version of the BBC website to submit your question or comment or you can email us at [email protected]. Please include your name, age, and location with any submission.