At least three people are dead and several others are missing after a dinghy carrying dozens of migrants overturned near the Greek island of Lesbos on Sunday, local authorities said.
According to a joint statement by the Greek Coast Guard and the Hellenic Police, the incident occurred at about 7 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET). The boat was carrying an estimated 45 people when it capsized off the island’s northern coast.
Rescue teams arrived at the scene shortly thereafter and managed to save 36 people, though three children were later pronounced dead. Several more people are still missing, the AFP news agency reported, citing a police source.
The incident came amid a resurgence of refugee arrivals in Greece due to the ongoing conflict in Syria and unrest in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa. Thousands of refugees have been attempting to cross the Aegean Sea to seek asylum in Europe in recent weeks, often in overcrowded and dangerous boats.
The EU and Turkish governments have been attempting to crack down on the refugee influx, but the recent arrival of a record number of people have put additional strain on Greece’s already strained migrant reception system.