At least 13 people died after a migrant boat capsized in the Aegean Sea late Friday, bringing to at least 27 the combined death toll from three accidents in as many days involving migrant boats in Greek waters.

Iran PressAsia: The sinkings came as smugglers increasingly favor a perilous route from Turkey to Italy, which avoids Greece’s heavily patrolled eastern Aegean islands that were at the forefront of the country’s migration crisis for years.

The coast guard said 62 people were rescued after a sailboat capsized late Friday some 5 miles off the island of Paros, in the central Aegean.

Survivors told the coast guard that about 80 people had been on the vessel.

The authorities said that five coast guard patrol boats, nine private vessels, a helicopter, and a military transport plane continued the night-time search for more survivors while coast guard divers participated.

Smugglers in Turkey have increasingly packed yachts with migrants and refugees and sent them toward Italy.

Earlier, 11 people were confirmed dead after a sailboat Thursday struck a rocky islet some 145 miles south of Athens, near the island of Antikythera.

The coast guard said Friday that 90 survivors ‒ 52 men, 11 women, and 27 children ‒ were rescued after spending hours on the islet.

“People need safe alternatives to these perilous crossings,” the Greek office of the United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said in a tweet.


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