ATHENS — Greek authorities conducted a search and rescue operation Friday off the coast of a small islet in the eastern Aegean Sea near the Turkish coast after a dinghy carrying migrants to Greece capsized, the coast guard said.
A total of 18 people were rescued, while one more person, a woman, was pulled from the water unconscious, the coast guard said. The survivors were to be transported to the nearby island of Samos. The coast guard said no further people were reported as missing.
Thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia attempt to make the short but dangerous sea crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands each year, in the hope of eventually making their way to more prosperous European Union countries.
Some attempt to skirt around Greece and head directly to Italy instead, either from Turkey or from north Africa. The longer sea journey is considerably more perilous, and has claimed hundreds of lives.
In June, an overloaded fishing trawler believed to have been carrying up to 750 people capsized and sank off the coast of western Greece as it headed from Libya to Italy. The vast majority of passengers had been below deck, and only 104 survivors and 78 bodies were recovered.