Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Hundreds missing as migrant boat capsizes off Greece

03 June 2016, 16:57

Athens – At least four people have died and a desperate effort was underway on Friday to find hundreds more believed missing after a migrant boat capsized off the Greek island of Crete, the coastguard said.

Coastguard spokesperson Nikos Lagadianos said at least 340 people had been rescued, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said the vessel "is believed to have left Africa with at least 700 migrants on board".

It was the second migrant vessel found in that area of the southern Aegean Sea since last week, indicating that people smugglers may be forging a new route to avoid NATO ships.

A coastguard spokesperson told AFP a major rescue operation was underway, including four ships that were passing through the area, in clear but windy conditions about 75 nautical miles south of Crete.

"The number of people in distress could be counted in the hundreds," she said.

It was not immediately clear where exactly the boat had left from or where it was headed, or the nationalities of those on board.

The coastguard spokesperson said a passing ship spotted the sinking vessel off Crete.

The coastguard rushed two patrol boats, a plane and a helicopter to the scene.

About half of the 25m-long boat was completely underwater, the spokesperson said.

Perilous journey

The deaths are the first in Greek waters since April, as a controversial March deal between the EU and Turkey, designed to halt the flow of migrants using the popular Aegean route, has led to a sharp drop in traffic.

Nevertheless, some 204 000 migrants and refugees have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe since January, the United Nations refugee agency said on Tuesday.

More than 2 500 people have died trying to make the perilous journey this year – the vast majority of them on crossings between Libya and Italy – as Europe battles its worst migration crisis since World War II.

The most recent deadly incident in the Aegean dates back to early April when four women and a child drowned off the island of Samos.

Greek tourist islands in the Aegean witnessed the arrival of hundreds of thousands of people crossing in flimsy boats from nearby Turkey last year, many of them refugees fleeing the war in Syria.

But the number of people using that route has reduced to a trickle after the EU-Turkey deal, under which migrants landing on the islands can be sent back to Turkey, as well as the deployment of NATO ships in the Aegean.

New route

The IOM said its observations supported the theory of a possible new migrant route, reporting a "surge of new arrivals to Greece further south, on sea lanes connecting North Africa to the island of Crete."

On May 27, the Greek coastguard intercepted a boat off Crete carrying 65 Syrian, Afghan and Pakistani migrants, under the control of two suspected people traffickers – a Ukrainian and an Egyptian.

The coastguard did not indicate if that boat, which the migrants said had left from Turkey, was heading for Italy or whether the smugglers had chosen the route through the southern Aegean to reach Greece by avoiding NATO ships deployed further north and east.

The NATO deployment is aimed at cutting off the Aegean route previously used by hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing poverty and conflict in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.



Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Cyril Mike Odhiz
Kenyans furious on young lady aft...

A young Kenyan woman is the talk of town after she posted a photo with her elderly lover after a round of steamy sex, or so the photo suggested.  Read more...

Submitted by
Kiplangat langat
Uhuru could be a one term Presid...

Bomet governor Isaac Ruto has said that President Uhuru Kenyatta could be a one term President if he fails to increase allocations to the counties. Read more...

Submitted by
Mody Sammy
35 year old farmer a new milliona...

A 35 year old farmer from Mpeketoni Lamu county has become the latest millionaire in town as she became winner in the ongoing ‘Shinda Mamili na Story Ibambe’. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Leave your past relationship bagg...

Leave your past relationship baggage at the door when you start a new relationship. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Advice from a young married Kenya...

I was just going to get water in the office kitchen and thought a simple hi was fine until I ended up in an hour long conversation with someone. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Helping you find the type of man ...

To put it simply, you can’t go looking for fish in a meat market; you have to go to a fish market. Read more...