Reports did not indicate whether the migrants had life jackets
Reports did not indicate whether the migrants had life jackets

A boat carrying migrants has sunk off the Greek island of Samos. Greek authorities said three people drowned, including two small boys. Nine others were rescued.

Greek authorities said the boat got into trouble overnight off Samos in the eastern Aegean Sea. After receiving a distress call late on Wednesday, the coast guard launched an air and sea search of the area. Rescuers found 11 people in the sea, including two young boys. The boys died on the way to hospital, AP reports.

Survivors reported that another man was missing from the boat. His body was reportedly found close to shore on Thursday morning.

The ages and nationalities of the migrants were not known. It was also not clear what had caused the boat to sink, as weather conditions were good. 

More than 200 migrants have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean, according to the UN migration agency, the IOM. Most were on their way to Italy. 

There are currently an estimated 70,000 migrants and refugees in Greece. The island of Samos has one of the country's most overcrowded camps, with around 4,000 people in a facility intended to accommodate fewer than 700.

Greece has faced criticism over conditions in the migrant camps. The government says the problem is caused by the large number of arrivals and a backlog of asylum applications.

•••• ➤ Also read: 

On Greek island of Lesbos, migrants' dreams turn to disillusion

Council of Europe slams Greece over refugee camp conditions

Winter conditions add to migrant hardship in northern Greece


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