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Hellenic Coast Guard in action (July 2022)

Photo: Michael Svarnias / AP

In a boat accident off the Greek island of Mykonos, significantly more people have died than initially known. According to the Hellenic Coast Guard, the bodies of six other migrants were found.

Already after the accident on Friday, three dead had been discovered in a large-scale search operation. With the latest find, the death toll rises to nine.

These are migrants who had apparently attempted to cross from Turkey in a speedboat. Northeast of the island, the boat apparently capsized. The exact cause of the accident is unclear. In the sea area around Mykonos, however, there are often strong winds, which can be dangerous for small boats. Mykonos is located about 150 kilometers from mainland Turkey.

According to the Hellenic Coast Guard, the bodies of four women and a man were found on Tuesday at a depth of 30 meters inside the speedboat. The body of another woman had already been found on Monday on a rocky stretch of coast of the neighboring island of Antiparos.

In total, up to 17 people are said to have been on the boat. Accordingly, six people are still missing. Two men had survived the accident and saved themselves by swimming to the coast of Mykonos.

According to the Reuters news agency, migrants are increasingly relying on routes that lead over open sea passages in the face of increased border surveillance on the Greek Aegean islands, which lie just below the Turkish mainland.

The dangerous crossings often lead to fatal accidents – last year, according to UN figures, at least 326 people died in the region. A higher number of unreported cases is assumed.