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LOCAL >At least 17 children among 26 migrants dead on Aegean

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In this AA File Photo, migrants en route to Lesbos were captured and brought back to the Küçükkuyu district of Turkey's midwestern Çanakkale province.

In this AA File Photo, migrants en route to Lesbos were captured and brought back to the Küçükkuyu district of Turkey's midwestern Çanakkale province.

At least 26 migrants, including 17 children, have died while dozens remain missing after boats carrying migrants from Turkey to Greece sank in three deadly incidents in the Aegean Sea. 

The Greek Merchant Marine Ministry said 19 people were killed and 138 people were rescued near the Greek island of Kalymnos, AP reported. 

Separately, three migrants died and six were rescued in an incident off the island of Rhodes on Oct. 30. 
Among the 22 migrants were 13 children, who drowned overnight when two boats sank off the islands of Kalymnos and Rhodes, the Greek port officials said on Oct. 30.

In a third incident, a fiber boat carrying a group of migrants from the western Turkish province of Balıkesir to the Greek island of Lesbos capsized off the coast of Çanakkale’s Küçükkuyu district, state-run Anadolu Agency reported. 

Coast guard teams initiated rescue efforts with three boats and a search and rescue helicopter. Some 19 migrants were rescued while the bodies of four children, between one year and four years old, were retrieved from the sea. 

Nearly 600 people were rescued by the coast guard in the past 24 hours, while thousands more made it safely to the islands on Oct. 30.

The death toll in the Aegean over the past three days has now reached nearly 50 - mostly children - while in Spain rescuers found the bodies of four migrants and were searching for 35 missing from a boat that ran into trouble trying to reach Spain from Morocco as of Oct. 30.

The deaths occurred amid a surge of crossings to Greek islands involving migrants and refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other countries ahead of winter and as European governments weigh taking tougher measures to try and limit the number of arrivals in Europe.

Greek coast guard teams stated that 925 migrants have been rescued in 20 different incidents at Lesbos, Samos, Kos and Chios islands since Oct. 27. 

The latest deaths came after a string of drownings off the tourist islands of Lesbos and Samos on Wednesday, with the latest figures showing at least 17 people, including 11 children, died.

Throughout October, 68 people have drowned while trying to reach Greece from Turkey, according to an AFP count based on statistics released by Greek port authorities.

Geographically located between war-torn Syria and Iraq in the southeast and the European Union member states of Bulgaria and Greece in the northwest, Turkey has come to be a transition point for foreign migrants looking to illegally cross into the EU in an endeavor to flee the violence in Iraq and Syria as well, as have a higher standard of living.

The wave of migration across the Aegean Sea, however, has sometimes resulted in injuries and even deaths due to either the capsizing of migrant-carrying boats or abuse of migrants by human traffickers.

October/30/2015

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