ATHENS (Reuters) -The Greek coast guard was searching for dozens of migrants believed to be missing after their boat sank off the island of Evia during bad weather early on Tuesday, authorities said.
Ten men were rescued from the boat, which sank off the southern tip of Evia after sailing from Turkey, Greek coast guard spokesman Nikos Kokkalas told state broadcaster ERT. As many as 68 people were on the boat according to survivors, Kokkalas said.
A coast guard vessel, a helicopter and two boats sailing nearby are taking part in the rescue operation under gale-force winds.
It was the second incident involving a migrant boat this week. On Monday, four migrants were rescued near the eastern Aegean island of Samos, close to Turkey, after their inflatable dinghy capsized.
Greece was on the front line of a European migration crisis in 2015, when about a million refugees fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan arrived in the country on boats from neighbouring Turkey.
The number of arrivals has fallen since 2016, when the European Union signed a deal with Turkey to stop the flows, but Greek authorities say they have recently seen an increase in attempted entries through the country’s islands and land border with Turkey.
In a statement on Tuesday, Greece’s shipping minister, Ioannis Plakiotakis, accused Turkey of “still allowing rings of ruthless traffickers to send our fellow human beings to their deaths.”
(Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou and Karolina Tagaris, Editing by Alexandra Hudson)