Migrants drown off Greek coast


Seven bodies found off coast of Lesbos after boat sailing from Turkey sinks in eastern Aegean Sea

Officials in Greece say they have recovered the bodies of seven migrants who drowned overnight when a boat travelling illegally from Turkey sank in the eastern Aegean Sea.

The merchant marine ministry said another eight people had been rescued near the island of Lesbos. Two of the bodies were found in the water off the coast of the island, while the other five were recovered from their semi-sunken boat.

The authorities were still searching for two more people believed missing from the boat. Three coastguard vessels, a helicopter and private boats were involved in the search.

The migrants' nationalities and details of how the boat sank were not immediately known.

Greece is a major transit point for illegal immigration into the European Union, with many making the journey to Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast in small boats that are often overloaded and unseaworthy.

In January, 12 people drowned when a boat overturned near the eastern Greek island of Farmakonisi.