ATHENS, March 17 (Xinhua) -- The death toll from the sinking of a boat carrying refugees and migrants from Turkey to Greece off the coast of Agathonissi island in the Aegean Sea has risen to 16 persons, Greek Coast Guard announced on Saturday.
Three people who survived swimming to the shore told local authorities that there were about 21 persons on the wooden boat when it capsized under yet unclear circumstances as 5 on the Beaufort scale winds were blowing in the area.
Their nationalities have still not been identified.
At least four minors were among the victims, according to sources.
A rescue operation with the support of the Greek Navy, Air Force and European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) forces continued to locate any more survivors.
Saturday's tragedy is the first reported after several months in the Aegean. Hundreds of refugees and migrants perished in the Aegean Sea waters since 2015 when hundreds of thousands of people started risking their lives to cross into Greece from Turkey.
More than one million people landed on Greece shores and continued their journey to other European countries until the country's northern borders closed.
More than 60,000 refugees and migrants have been stranded in Greece since the start of the EU-Turkey agreement aimed to curb the flows.
The number of new arrivals has decreased dramatically in recent months to a few dozen per day, according to Greek Coast Guard official figures.