The Latest: Migrant dies in Greece after smugglers chased
ATHENS, Greece (AP) — The Latest on the influx of refugees and migrants to Europe (all times local):
Greek authorities say that a migrant has died and three others have been hospitalized with injuries in northern Greece when a van transporting 14 migrants from near the Turkish border crashed after being chased by police.
Authorities say that the dead migrant has been identified as an Iranian man in his 30s, while details on the injured haven’t been given. The incident occurred Monday outside the northeastern city of Xanthi.
Police say that the van’s driver, a Moldovan man, had swerved past a highway police checkpoint and crashed on a rural road. He was also injured and arrested.
Migrants in the van — from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iraq, and Iran — are believed to have crossed from neighboring Turkey over a river that separates the two countries.
Greek authorities say a migrant boat sinking has left 16 people dead, with nine bodies recovered from Greek waters off the Aegean Sea island of Lesbos, and another seven bodies recovered from Turkish waters.
Greece’s coast guard said authorities on Monday had recovered the bodies of six women, two men and a child in Greece, while Turkish authorities had picked up the bodies of six men and a child. Two women, one of them pregnant, were rescued and transported to Lesbos.
The coast guard said the pregnant woman told authorities she had been among about 25 people who had set sail late Sunday night from the Turkish coast heading for Lesbos on a smuggling boat.
No further information was available as to what had occurred.
Greece’s coast guard says rescue crews have recovered eight bodies believed to be migrants from the sea off the eastern Aegean island of Lesbos and rescued two people, including a pregnant woman.
A Greek navy vessel spotted the bodies Monday and a ship with the European border patrol agency Frontex picked up the first five bodies. The dead included three men, four women and a boy, while two women were transported to Lesbos.
It was not immediately clear how many others might be missing. A search-and-rescue operation was ongoing in the area.
Hundreds of thousands of migrants have crossed into Greece from the nearby Turkish coast, hoping to head to the more prosperous central and northern European countries. But a European Union-Turkey deal reached last year — in which those arriving on Greek islands face deportation back to Turkey — has significantly reduced the number of people attempting to cross.