According to the Greek coastguard, seventeen migrants drowned early Wednesday morning after their boat capsized and sank off the coast of the Peloponnese. However, approximately one hundred additional migrants were saved.
According to prior statements made by the coast guard, the incident took place in international seas within the Ionian Sea and sparked an extended rescue attempt that was made more difficult by the severe winds.
In addition to warships from the navy, the operation also included aircraft and a helicopter from the army, as well as six other boats that were present in the region.
Following the capsize of a fishing boat that had a large number of migrants on board, an extensive rescue operation has been ongoing off the coast of Pylos since very early on Wednesday morning, according to the coastguard.
Those who had been rescued were being transported to Kalamata; however, four of them were in critical condition and were taken by helicopter to the hospital at the port.
The occupants “refused any help,” according to the coastguard, who reported that the boat had been sighted by a surveillance plane belonging to Europe’s Frontex agency on Tuesday afternoon.
It was eventually revealed that none of the people on board were wearing life jackets, and their nationalities were not immediately disclosed.
According to the authorities, it appears that the migrants have already left Libya and are already traveling towards Italy.
Also on Wednesday, the Greek port police reported that a sailboat that was in danger off the coast of Crete and carrying approximately 80 migrants was rescued by a coastguard patrol and towed into port.
Greece, along with Italy and Spain, has long been one of the primary landing spots for the tens of thousands of refugees who are traveling from Africa and the Middle East to reach Europe.
A growing number of people are attempting to enter Greece from Turkey via southern routes close to the Cyclades islands and toward the Peloponnese peninsula. They do this in an effort to escape being caught by Greek naval patrols in the northern Aegean Sea.
Rescue operations are regular, but the Greek government came under international scrutiny one month ago due to video footage that allegedly showed the forcible expulsion of migrants who were sent adrift at sea. The film was apparently shown on a camera worn by an officer.
Greece and other EU member states on the southern and southeastern fringe of the bloc argue that they are being unfairly saddled with the responsibility of managing the arrivals of unauthorized migrants.