Death toll rises to 7 after refugee boat capsizes in Aegean Sea

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-11 19:12:11|Editor: xuxin
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ATHENS, June 11 (Xinhua) -- The death toll has risen to seven after a boat carrying refugees capsized off the Lesvos Island in the Aegean Sea on Tuesday, according to Greek national news agency AMNA.

Three minors were among the victims, all of them of African origin, according to local officials.

Greek Coast Guard rescued 57 refugees and migrants, also from Africa, according to information so far.

Survivors said that they had set off from the Turkish shore in a plastic dinghy at about 2:00 a.m. local time on Tuesday morning, but the over laden boat capsized shortly before reaching the island of Lesvos, even though the weather at the time was calm.

The rescue operation was carried out by Greek coast guard and European Border and Coast Guard Agency (Frontex) vessels, as well as a Super Puma helicopter of the Greek Air Force.

The operation continues to seek more possible survivors or more bodies.

Hundreds of people have perished in the Aegean since 2015 when thousands of refugees and migrants started risking their lives to cross from Turkey into Europe, seeking refuge from war zones and extreme poverty.

More than 1 million people reached Greece to continue their journey to other European countries until the closure of borders in 2016. Half of them landed on Lesvos' shores.