THESSALONIKI — A vehicle carrying 10 migrants hoping to head from Greece north into the Balkans crashed in northern Greece overnight, leaving one person dead and nine injured, including one seriously, police said Tuesday.
Police said Tuesday that the seven-seater car had been heading out of the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki towards the border when it veered off a highway into a ditch shortly before midnight. A passing motorist alerted emergency services.
Authorities didn’t provide any details on the ages or nationalities of the car’s occupants, who police said had paid 150 euros ($175) each to be taken to the border, from where they hoped to make their way to Serbia. It wasn’t clear if the Balkan country was their final destination or if they were heading to another country in Europe.
Greece for years has been one of the main routes into the European Union for people fleeing poverty and conflict in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The vast majority use smuggling networks to make it either from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands, or across the short stretch of Turkey’s land border with Greece. But the Greek government has been increasing patrols and security along its eastern border, and has further bolstered border security following the Taliban takeover in Afghanistan, fearing people fleeing the Taliban will attempt to enter Europe.
Last week, Greek officials said the country would add another 250 officers to the 1,500-strong border force on the frontier with Turkey over the next several months, and would hire about 800 more border guard personnel to staff airports and regions close to the Turkish border.