From file: Migrants arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos, March 2020 | Photo: Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis
From file: Migrants arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos, March 2020 | Photo: Reuters/Alkis Konstantinidis

A man is believed to have frozen to death trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos on Monday. 27 others, mostly from Somalia, landed on the island and were rescued after spending a night in the open.

The Greek coastguard said Wednesday, January 20 it had recovered the body of a man and rescued 27 other people who had made the journey to Lesbos in icy weather from Turkey.

The migrants, mostly Somalis, landed late Monday on a rocky section of the coast on the eastern side of Lesbos, where they spent the night. A Greek coastguard official said that it was not clear what had happened to their boat.

Authorities reported that one man had died, probably from the cold, as temperatures dropped below freezing. The man’s identity was not revealed.

The coastguard official said that 24 people including 15 women, a child and eight men were initially found. After being told that three others were missing, the coastguard found them later on Tuesday. They had jumped out of the boat as it was approaching the island, the coastguard said.

An open sea vessel, a helicopter and two army speedboats were deployed in the search for the missing migrants, according to the newspaper Ekathimerini.

The 27 rescued migrants were to be transferred to a hospital in the island's main town of Mytilene, the news agency AFP reported on Wednesday.

Fewer migrant arrivals

The Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarakis said Tuesday that the number of migrants in camps on five Aegean islands had dropped from 34,000 at the start of 2020 to 15,000.

Over the past five years, the islands have been one of the main entry points in Europe for asylum seekers. Since 2015, hundreds of migrants have drowned trying to make the journey from Turkey in unseaworthy, overloaded boats. A month ago, a woman drowned off Lesbos after falling out of an inflatable raft carrying Somali migrants.

The number of migrants arriving on the Greek islands has dropped sharply since early 2020, when the government imposed restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

With AFP, dpa, Ekathimerini

 

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