Greek Authorities Rescue 21 Migrants Adrift off Usual Route

FILE - In this Sunday, March 20, 2016 file photo, volunteers help migrants and refugees on a dingy as they arrive at the shore of the northeastern Greek island of Lesbos, after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey. Faced with a flood of more than 1 million migrants across the Mediterranean in 2015, European nations tightened border controls, set up naval patrols to stop smugglers, negotiated an agreement with Turkey to limit the numbers crossing, shut the Balkan route used by hundreds of thousands, and tried to speed up deportations of rejected asylum-seekers. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

THESSALONIKI(AP) — Greek authorities say they have rescued 21 migrants found adrift in a small boat in a section of the northeastern Aegean Sea off the usual illegal immigration route.

The migrants were located Thursday between the island of Samothraki and the northeastern port of Alexandroupoli, after Greek authorities received an emergency call reporting their boat was in trouble.

Most migrants entering Greece illegally by sea from Turkey prefer the much shorter crossing to the eastern Aegean Sea islands, and the longer, northern route is rarely used.

Also Thursday, police in the northeastern region of Thrace said they detained nine Syrian and Afghan migrants found squashed into a car that was being driven west after crossing the land border from Turkey.

The driver, a 20-year-old Syrian, was arrested on suspicion of people-smuggling.