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Death toll rises to 23 from migrant sailboat wreck in Greece


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ATHENS, Greece – The body of another migrant has been found in the western Aegean Sea near where an overloaded schooner carrying dozens of people to Europe sank in rough seas this week, Greek authorities said on Friday, bringing the total death toll to 23.

A coast guard statement said the number of survivors so far remained at 12, leaving 34 others reported missing after Tuesday’s crash in a dangerous strait between the islands of Evia and Andros.

The dead included five children. Two of the 12 survivors were arrested on suspicion of working for the smuggling gang that organized the trip from Turkey, by sledding and sailing.

Others among the survivors – all men – said the ship had sailed from the Izmir region in western Turkey with 68 people on board, and capsized before sinking at sea.

It is the latest in a recent series of deadly shipwrecks of boats carrying migrants across Greek waters. At least 27 people drowned in two separate shipwrecks last month.

Thousands of people from the Middle East, Asia and Africa try to illegally enter EU member Greece via perilous sea voyages each year, in search of a better life within the bloc. 27 countries.

According to UN data, more than 25,000 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach the EU since 2014.

Follow all AP stories on global migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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