A significant search-and-rescue operation started overnight after a migrant smuggling ship sank off the southern Greek island Crete continued Tuesday, with natives struggling to state exactly how many individuals had been on board and if there were people still missing.
Greece’s coast guard said yet another individual was rescued in the wee hours of Tuesday, bringing the entire number of individuals saved to 57. Three bodies those of two kids and a girl — were recovered in the sea Monday night.
Police were alerted after an individual claiming to be a passenger onboard known as an emergency number. It was unclear which sort of boat the migrants were around. The ship sank 12 nautical miles (22 km ) east of Crete in rough seas, the coast guard said.
Two coast guard vessels, two aircraft along with five boats which were drifting nearby were engaging in the hunt. The coast guard said survivors were unable to provide an account of the number of individuals who were on board and it was uncertain if there were any lost.
Greece is among the main entrance points in the European Union to get asylum-seekers and migrants in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. The huge bulk cross from the Turkish coast to neighboring Greek islands at dinghies. But police say they’ve seen a rise in smuggling gangs using bigger ships, like yachts and sailing ships, to pass south of Crete and head to Italy.