THESSALONIKI — Greek authorities have found the body of a woman believed to be the wife of an Iranian who drowned crossing a rain-swollen torrent, as the couple and several other migrants trekked through the hills of northern Greece to avoid police patrols.
The fire department said Thursday that the body was recovered from a stream in the northern Greek province of Serres. The 24-year-old Iranian woman was missing since Wednesday, when the body of a 35-year-old Iranian man was recovered.
Police said the migrants had entered Greece illegally from Turkey and were believed to have been driven to the area by smugglers who left them to make their own way to the northern city of Thessaloniki. It was unclear how many people had been in the group, which moved on after the accident.
The man’s body was found after rescuers responded to an emergency call by another Iranian man, the woman’s 22-year-old brother, who had been with the group and stayed behind to help the two.
Greece has been hit by severe rainstorms and gale-force winds, while snow has affected much of northern and central Greece, with temperatures around freezing.
Greece is a major entry point for people from the Middle East, Asia and Africa seeking a better life in the European Union. Most enter from neighboring Turkey, either crossing the northeastern land border or being ferried by smuggling boats to the eastern Aegean Sea islands near the Turkish coast.
Recently, smuggling gangs have even been piling migrants into yachts heading from Turkey to Italy. Dozens of migrants died in a series of accidents in the central Aegean last month.