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4 dead after refugee boat sinks off Greek island

Xinhua | Updated: 2023-02-06 04:59

ATHENS -- Three children and a woman died after a boat carrying yet unknown number of refugees and migrants sank off the island of Leros in the Aegean Sea, Greek national news agency AMNA reported on Sunday.

The body of the woman was collected in the sea, the Hellenic Coast Guard said in a statement on Sunday. The three children had been transferred to a local hospital where they died, AMNA reported, citing the local Port Authority.

A total of 39 people were rescued, according to the latest count, and many were of African descent, according to AMNA.

Survivors told authorities there were about 40 people, among them minors and a person with disabilities, on board the dinghy that had set sail from the Turkish coast, a Hellenic Coast Guard statement said.

A search and rescue operation was still underway to locate survivors in a rocky remote part of the island amid bad weather conditions with heavy rainfall, strong wind and low visibility, the Coast Guard said.

Greece has been at the forefront of the refugee and migrant influx since 2015 and hundreds have perished in the Aegean Sea in the past eight years.

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