Athens, 11 January 2020 (dpa/MIA) – At least 12 people drowned, with more possibly missing, after a boat transporting migrants sank off the Aegean island of Paxos, Greek media reported on Saturday.
The Greek coastguard rescued 21 people from the sea, but there may have been as many as 50 onboard.
The coastguard dispatched four patrol boats and three helicopters for the rescue mission. Another five civilian vessels were already searching the area, according to the Marine Traffic website.
Nearly every day Greek authorities intercept boats smuggling migrants from Turkey to Greek islands in the Aegean.
The inflow of people attempting to reach wealthy European countries using the formally closed Balkan route remains at the highest level since the borders closed in March 2016.
In 2019, a total of 74,482 people were registered arriving in Greece, 59,591 by sea and the rest across the land border, according to UNHCR data. Most arrived since a spike began in April.
That compares to 50,508 in 2018 and 36,310 in 2017, respectively.