62 migrants rescued from sailboat in Aegean - Greece

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s coast guard says dozens of migrants have been rescued from a sailboat that issued a distress call after it began taking on water while sailing in the eastern Aegean Sea.

The coast guard said it had launched a search and rescue operation after receiving a distress call in the early hours of Monday about a vessel in distress in rough seas south of the remote island of Syrna, south of the island of Kos.

A German-flagged cargo container ship in the area rescued the 62 people who had been on the stricken sailboat, which was taking on water, the coast guard said. There were no immediate reports of any missing people or any casualties.

The survivors were later transferred to a coast guard lifeboat and were being transported to the island of Kos. Their nationalities weren’t immediately known.

Tens of thousands of people fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa try to make their way into the European Union each year via perilous sea journeys, with most attempting to reach Greece or Italy.

Many attempt the short but perilous sea journey from Turkey to the nearby Greek islands, usually in inflatable dinghies. But others have increasingly been attempting to head from Turkey directly to Italy in severely overcrowded sailboats or yachts.

Sinkings and capsizings of both sailing boats and dinghies in the last few months have left dozens of people dead and missing in Greek seas.

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