Two children, woman die as migrant smuggling boat sinks near Crete

File Photo : REUTERS/Elias Marcou

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A smuggling boat sank off the southern Greek island of Crete on Monday, leaving three dead, while a large rescue operation managed to save 56 others from the sea, authorities said

A major search-and-rescue operation was launched overnight. Two coast guard vessels, two aircraft and five ships that had been sailing nearby were participating in the search. The coast guard said survivors were not able to give an account of how many people had been on board initially, and it was unclear whether there were any missing.

Originally, survivors unable to say how many people had originally been on board and whether there were people still missing.

Greece’s coast guard said one more person had been rescued in the early hours of Tuesday, bringing the total number of people saved to 57. Three bodies — those of two children and a woman — were recovered from the sea Monday night.

Authorities were alerted after a person claiming to be a passenger onboard called an emergency number. It was unclear what type of vessel the migrants were on. The boat sank 12 nautical miles (22 kilometers) east of Crete in rough seas, the coast guard said.