“It’s a big wreck; we don’t often see this,” a Coast Guard official on Lesbos said, noting that most boats dispatched by smugglers from Turkey to Greece carry “40 or 80 people.”
“We’ve seen boats with 160 or 170 but that’s rare,” he added. Inflatable dinghies have been the smugglers’ preferred vessel up to now. The official refused to speculate on whether the type of vessel used this time and the number of passengers aboard marked a new tactic by the smugglers.
The three people confirmed dead were a man and two boys, a four-year-old and a one-year-old. No details were available about their country of origin.
In total, eight migrants died on Wednesday in attempts to cross the Aegean from Turkey according to the Greek Shipping Ministry, which cited four separate wrecks: two off Lesbos and two off Samos, another Greek island. Of the eight dead, six were children.