Greece boat disaster: As many as 300 Pakistani migrants including children, who were on an overcrowded ship that capsized in deep waters of the Mediterranean Sea, are either missing or dead. As per the reports, more than 700 refugees were allegedly on board the ship which included 310 from Pakistan, but there has been no official word or confirmation about this incident from the Shehbaz Sharif government, hence, the exact death toll is not confirmed yet.
According to reports, the accident occurred in the Mediterranean Sea’s deep waters, about 75 kilometers from Greece. There are reports that 298 children are either missing or dead, News360 reported. A least 12 Pakistani were rescued and the Pakistani embassy in Greece has reportedly issued a statement saying that its representatives have met the survivors in Kalamata. According to eyewitnesses, more than 700 migrants were on board the sinking boat. Most of them belonged to Pakistan, Egypt and Syria.
Of the Pakistani migrants on the boat, 135 were from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir. The majority of the dead migrants were from Punjab’s central areas. Though efforts are being made, little progress has been made in locating the agents through whom these men travelled to Libya and then Italy.
Several local Pakistani media and people are reporting about the death and missing of their loved ones on social media.
500 people are still untraceable
Earlier, the United Nations Migration body claimed more than 500 people are still untraceable even after a massive search operation for an overcrowded ship that went off Greece’s south coast. So far, 79 bodies have been recovered and 104 people have been rescued. It was unclear how many were missing, but some initial reports suggested hundreds may have been aboard. If that is confirmed, the wreck could become the deadliest so far this year.
Alarm Phone, a network of activists who run a hotline for migrant boats in distress, said they had been in contact with people they believe were on the same vessel and who were desperate for help. The passengers reported that the captain had abandoned the ship on a small boat before it capsized, Alarm Phone said.
Greek coast guard, navy and merchant vessels and aircraft launched a vast search and rescue operation after the overcrowded fishing boat capsized and sank early Wednesday some 75 kilometres southwest of the southern Peloponnese peninsula.
Vast search operation
Patrol boats and a helicopter spent a third day scouring the area of the Mediterranean Sea where the packed fishing vessel capsized early Wednesday, in what the U.N. migration agency said could be the second deadliest migrant shipwreck recorded. The deadliest occurred when a vessel capsized off the coast of Libya en route to Italy in April 2015, killing an estimated 1,100 people.
Greek coast guard spokesman Nikos Alexiou said that both coast guard and private ships repeatedly offered by radio and loudspeaker to help the vessel Wednesday while it was in international waters, also heading from Libya to Italy, but they were rejected.
Patrol boats and a helicopter spent a third day scouring the area of the Mediterranean Sea where the packed fishing vessel capsized early Wednesday, in what the UN migration agency said could be the second deadliest migrant shipwreck recorded. The deadliest occurred when a vessel capsized off the coast of Libya en route to Italy in April 2015, killing an estimated 1,100 people.