Migrant boat sinks, dozens missing

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A major search and rescue operation has been launched east of the island of Karpathos after a boat carrying dozens of migrants reportedly sank overnight, Greek authorities said.

Twenty-nine people, all men, have been rescued 33 nautical miles (38 miles, 61 kilometers) southeast of Karpathos, a southeastern island between Rhodes and Crete, the coast guard said Wednesday. The Coast Guard said those rescued were from Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran, and they told authorities there were about 60 to 80 people on board when the boat sank.

Rescuers said the ship, which had set sail from the Antalya region off Turkey’s southern coast, was targeting Italy when it ran into trouble that night.

The Coast Guard said two Coast Guard patrol boats, a Greek Navy ship, an Air Force helicopter and at least three ships sailing nearby were participating in the search and rescue effort.

The most common sea route for asylum seekers from the Middle East, Asia and Africa is from Turkey to nearby Greek islands. But as Greek authorities increase patrols in the Aegean Sea and face repeated and persistent reports of immediate deportation of new migrants to Turkey without allowing them to apply for asylum, many are now bypassing the Greek islands and trying to Take the longer and more dangerous route to Italy. Greek authorities deny they carried out illegal summary deportations of asylum seekers.

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