Latest tragedy sees 28 drown when wooden boat sinks off Greek coast

Twenty-eight refugees drowned off a Greek island yesterday when their boat sank, the coastguard said, thought to be the largest recorded death toll from any single accident in Greek waters since the refugee crisis began.

“A wooden vessel carrying them overturned about three miles east of Farmakonisi,” a coastguard spokeswoman told Reuters.

The accident coincided with a plea from Greek caretaker prime minister Vasiliki Thanou for the EU to agree a comprehensive policy for dealing with the increasing numbers fleeing to the region.

Tens of thousands of mainly Syrian refugees have braved rough seas this year to make the short but precarious journey from the Turkish coast to Greece’s eastern islands, mainly in flimsy and overcrowded inflatable dinghies.

Latest tragedy sees 28 drown when wooden boat sinks off Greek coast

Details of the nationalities and ages of the victims of yesterday’s sinking off Farmakonisi, among the smallest of a chain of Greek islands less than 20km from the Turkish mainland, were not immediately available.

The coastguard said 68 people were rescued out of the water and another 30 survivors from the same boat were found on Farmakonisi.

Meanwhile, Austrian police said they rescued 42 people, including five women and eight children, from a refrigerated lorry on a road near the border with Germany.

Police in Upper Austria province said the migrants were found at a rest stop on the A8 motorway at Aistersheim by officers looking for traffickers’ vehicles. They were inside a Finnish-registered truck used to transport flowers.

Police said all were in good health and the suspected smugglers, two Iraqis, were arrested. Last month, 71 people were found dead in a lorry in eastern Austria. Police said they probably suffocated.

More on this topic

Ireland has taken in 2,500 refugees in four years, report findsIreland has taken in 2,500 refugees in four years, report finds

Ireland should more than double intake of refugees to meet 'fair share', migrant group saysIreland should more than double intake of refugees to meet 'fair share', migrant group says

Calais migrant camp cleared by police for third day in a rowCalais migrant camp cleared by police for third day in a row

Families in Dunkirk camp describe fleeing violence in search of safer lifeFamilies in Dunkirk camp describe fleeing violence in search of safer life


Lifestyle

We catch up with Bushmills’ master distiller, who tells Sam Wylie-Harris more about this liquid gold.Irish whiskey masterclass: 11 things you need to know

Temples, beaches, and several nations with new names.From Bhutan to Costa Rica, Lonely Planet reveals its top countries to visit in 2020

Columnist and trained counsellor Fiona Caine offers guidance to a woman who’s unsure how to manage her mother’s dying wishes.Ask a counsellor: ‘Is it appropriate to notify my mother’s friends of her death by email?’

‘The Big Yin’ talks to Luke Rix-Standing about living with Parkinson’s, the power of forgiveness, and why he will never, ever stop swearing.Billy Connolly: ‘You don’t wake up famous, you wake up scratching yourself like everybody else’

More From The Irish Examiner