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Migrant boat sinks in Greece, 2 dead, 20 missing

  • The Italian Navy rescues migrants on a boat on May 19, 2014 during an operation off the coast of Sicily. (AFP/MARINA MILITARE)

  • Migrants sit in their boat during a rescue operation by Italian navy ship San Marco off the coast to the south of the Italian island of Sicily February 5, 2014. (REUTERS/Marina Militare)

ATHENS: Greek authorities say at least two people have drowned and about a further 20 are missing after a boat carrying immigrants trying to enter the country illegally sank off the Aegean Sea island of Samos.

A Merchant Marine Ministry statement Friday said 13 people have been rescued and a flotilla of small vessels assisted by two helicopters is combing the area for survivors.

The sinking occurred some 11 miles northwest of Samos in the eastern Aegean, which is very close to the Turkish mainland. Turkish vessels are also taking part in the search.

Ages and nationalities of the immigrants were not immediately known.

Greece is a major entry point for people from troubled areas of the Middle East and Africa seeking a better life in Europe. Fatal accidents are frequent.

 
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