Bodies wash up in Libya, rescue off Crete | News | DW | 03.06.2016
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Bodies wash up in Libya, rescue off Crete

The bodies of more than 100 boat migrants have come ashore near Libya's western city of Zwara. Far out in the Mediterranean, off Crete, 304 people have been rescued from another stricken vessel.

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A Libyan navy spokesman and the website "Migrant Report" said on Friday that between 104 and 117 bodies had been recovered near Zwara on Thursday evening, in the latest of a string of similar cases.

Libyan naval colonel Ayoub Gassin told the Associated Press on Friday that coast guards had recovered the empty boat on Thursday night.

Gassim accused Europe of "doing nothing but counting bodies" as refugees resorted to more dangerous, longer routes across the Mediterranean.

"Migrant Report," quoting the Libyan Red Crescent, said those found dead near Zwara included children.

Libyen tote Flüchtlinge am Strand in Zuwarah

Bodies being removed from Zwara's coastline

Rescue far off Crete

Greek media and authorities said a large rescue operation was taking place Friday 75 nautical miles (138.9 kilometers) south of Crete in Egyptian territorial waters. By midday, 340 people had been rescued and four bodies recovered. The Greek coastguard said the 25-meter boat had been located half-sunk. Its point of departure was not known.

Five passing ships had participated in the rescue. Greece had sent two patrol vessels, a military airplane and three helicopters.

"We've heard that there were 400 or 500 people on board, but we cannot confirm that number," said coastguard spokesman Nikos Lagadianos. He described the rescue operation as "huge."

Four rescues by Frontex

Until Balkan nations closed their borders early this year, the short crossing from Turkey's western coast to Greece's islands had been the preferred refugee route.

Since March 20, migrants faced deportation back to Turkey under a controversial deal reached between the EU and Ankara.

The Greek coastguard said the EU border patrol agency Frontex had rescued 164 people in four separate incidents on Thursday off the islands of Lesbos and Chios.

ipj/msh (Reuters, AP, dpa)

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