90 migrants rescued from US-flagged yacht in distress

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Authorities in southern Greece said Monday that 90 migrants, including 37 children, had been rescued from a US-flagged yacht sailing from Turkey to Italy.

The rescue took place on Sunday after a passenger made a distress call off the Greek island of Kythira, about 250 kilometers (155 miles) southwest of Athens. The Coast Guard said three vessels were involved in rescuing 35 men, 18 women, 27 boys and 10 girls from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Iraq and Egypt.

Two of the passengers were later arrested for smuggling and detained, while the others were taken to a nearby mainland port to be registered.

In recent years, smugglers have used yachts and sailboats, often later found to have been stolen from Turkish marinas, to try to avoid detection along routes to Europe. They often bypass Greece and head south to mainland Italy, making it easier to reach Central European countries.

The longer trip to Italy is also more cost-effective, typically costing each passenger around $9,000, about six times the amount charged by smugglers on the Turkish coast for a dinghy ride to an eastern island. of Greece.

In October, at least six people died in Kythira when a sailboat with dozens of migrants on board struck rocks and partially sank, while 80 others were rescued.


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