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Greece: Dozens Missing After Boat Sinks08/11 06:11

   

   ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greek authorities say a search and rescue operation 
is ongoing for a second day for dozens of migrants missing after the boat they 
were on sank in rough seas off a southeastern Greek island.

   A Greek navy vessel and three nearby merchant ships were still searching 
Thursday for between around 30 to 50 people believed missing after the boat 
that had been carrying them from the Turkish coast of Antalya to Italy capsized 
in the early hours of Wednesday.

   No further survivors had been located since 29 men from Afghanistan, Iran 
and Iraq were rescued shortly after the boat sank about 33 nautical miles (38 
miles; 61 kilometers) southeast of the island of Karpathos, the Greek coast 
guard said. The survivors had told authorities there had been a total of 
between 60 and 80 people on board the boat.

   Greek authorities said the capsizing occurred in international waters, but 
within Greece's search and rescue responsibility area.

   Two of the survivors were plucked from the sea by an air force helicopter 
and flown to Karpathos, while the remaining 27 were picked up by a merchant 
vessel and transported to the island of Kos, where they arrived Wednesday 
afternoon.

   Video released by the coast guard showed the men being transferred from the 
merchant ship to a coast guard boat which then transported them to Kos. There, 
dressed in white coveralls and wearing masks, they disembarked, many of them 
limping but all walking unassisted, and headed to a waiting bus.

   It wasn't immediately clear why the boat sank, but weather conditions in the 
area were rough, with strong winds and choppy seas, authorities said.

   The most common sea route for asylum-seekers from the Middle East, Asia and 
Africa has been from Turkey to the nearby Greek islands in the Aegean Sea.

   But with Greek authorities increasing patrols in the area and facing 
persistent reports of summarily deporting new arrivals to Turkey without 
allowing them to apply for asylum, many are now attempting the much longer, and 
more dangerous, route directly to Italy. Greek authorities deny they carry out 
illegal summary deportations of asylum-seekers.

   In a separate case in northern Greece, police said three men were killed 
after being hit by a passenger train near the northern town of Drama. The 
three, believed to be migrants, had reportedly been sleeping on the train 
tracks when they were hit at 6:20 a.m. by a train heading from Drama to 
Thessaloniki.

   The train driver was arrested and released while an investigation is 
conducted. The driver told police he didn't have time to react after suddenly 
seeing the three men sleeping on the tracks.

   Authorities were working to establish the identities and nationalities of 
the three men.

   People hoping to claim asylum or make their way further into Europe often 
use train tracks to walk between cities or towards borders.

 
 
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