At least two migrants dead after boat sinks off Greek Island of Lesbos

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At least two people died when a boat carrying migrants capsized Wednesday off the Greek island of Lesbos in the Aegean Sea, port police said, while up to 16 people were missing.

An inflatable dinghy from the nearby Turkish coast ran aground on the rocky shores of Agios Georgios, east of Lesbos, around 3:00 am local time (0100 GMT), pushed by strong winds.

According to those rescued, 36 people were on board the boat.

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Authorities said they had found 18 migrants who had managed to get off the dinghy, plus two bodies in the sea near the coast, according to an official from the coast guard’s office.

Authorities say the other 16 people dispersed after the boat ran aground and were still missing.

Coast guard patrol boats were not able Wednesday to carry out searches at sea due to a sailing ban because of bad weather.

The island of Lesbos is one of the gateways for migrants seeking to enter the European Union, many making perilous journeys by sea.

Greece has stepped up patrols in the Aegean Sea with the help of the European Union’s border protection agency Frontex.

In June, a dilapidated boat capsized and sank off Pylos in the Peloponnese, drowning 82 people, while hundreds were reported missing.

Forty of the survivors have filed a group lawsuit against Greek authorities alleging they failed to take appropriate action before the boat sank.

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