At least 16 people drown as migrant boat sinks off Greece island

At least 16 people drown as migrant boat sinks off Greece island

At least 16 people drown as migrant boat sinks off Greece island

"A Greek navy vessel found five bodies off the island of Lesbos", a coastguard spokeswoman told AFP.

At least 15 people, including children, drowned when an inflatable boat carrying refugees and migrants sank off Greece's Lesbos island, the Greek coastguard said on Monday.

It was not immediately clear how many others might be missing. Two women, one of them pregnant, were rescued and transported to Lesbos.

Officials said several vessels are continuing the search and the weather conditions in the area are mild. The boat is believed to have set sail from Turkey late on Sunday.

Authorities said the dead comprised two children, four women and nine men.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have crossed into Greece from the nearby Turkish coast, hoping to head to the more prosperous central and northern European countries.

Despite an EU-Turkey deal reached in March past year, asylum seekers still try to reach relatively prosperous Europe, although at a significantly reduced rate of 20 each day, according to the UNHCR.

The death toll in the refugee boat tragedy unfolding off Lesvos island has risen to eight, the Greek Shipping Ministry announced.

Most undertake the short but unsafe journey on overloaded inflatable dinghies or occasionally sailboats.

Greece's Aegean Sea islands are a primary transit point for refugees and migrants seeking to reach Europe from Turkey.

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