Tue | Oct 16, 2018

At least 37 migrants drown trying to reach Greece

Published:Sunday | January 31, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Turkish paramilitary police officers collect the dead body of a migrant child from the shoreline near the Aegean town of Ayvacik, yesterday.


A boat carrying Syrians attempting the short sea journey from Turkey to Greece struck rocks and capsized at dawn yesterday, causing at least 37 people to drown, among them several babies and young children.

Images of dead children on a beach yesterday were another soul-searing reminder that Europe's migrant crisis keeps destroying lives and families by the day.

They recalled the photo of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi lying face down on a Turkish beach last year.

His story put an intimate face on the Syrian refugee crisis for people across the world, prompting many to finally grapple with the magnitude of the suffering being inflicted by the war in Syria and treacherous attempts by many to find safety in Europe.

Yesterday's tragedy occurred when the boat capsized as dozens of people attempted the deceptively short crossing from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Lesbos barely five miles (eight kilometres) away.




More than 250 migrants have drowned already this month trying to reach one of Greece's offshore islands, entry point to the European Union and its uncertain promise of refuge from war and poverty.

The Turkish coast guard said three ships, a helicopter and team of divers were searching the partially submerged craft and surrounding seas for more bodies as police on shore placed bodies, some 10 children among them, in black bags. Journalists at the scene tried to interview some of the 75 survivors, but police took them away in buses, some bound for a local hospital to be treated for hypothermia and other injuries, others into police custody for questioning.