Boat with over 700 migrants capsizes off Crete, at least 3 dead

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More than 300 migrants were rescued and three bodies recovered off the Greek island of Crete on Friday after a boat carrying at least 700 people capsized, authorities said. Operations are continuing to find more survivors, the Greek coast guard said.
Greece sent two patrol boats and two helicopters to the area, 75 nautical miles south of Crete in international waters, and four passing ships were also participating in the rescue operation.
At least 700 people were on board the 25-30 meter (82-98 foot) boat, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said.
Greek authorities said three bodies had been recovered and 302 people were rescued from the boat after it capsized. This was the second migrant boat found in the same area of the southern Aegean Sea since last week, indicating people smugglers may be forging a possible new route. The survivors were picked up by four ships passing through the area and are expected to be taken to Crete, a coast guard spokeswoman said. She said a major rescue operation was underway in clear but windy conditions south of the island, but the number of missing people is not known. The spokeswoman earlier said “the number of people in distress could be counted in the hundreds”.
She added that “people are in the water, boats crossing the area have thrown lifebuoys and are moving to save the migrants”.
It was not immediately clear where the boat had left from or where it was headed, or the nationalities of those on board. The spokeswoman said a passing ship spotted the sinking vessel off Crete, Greece’s largest island located in the southern Aegean Sea.
The coast guard rushed two patrol boats and two aircraft to the scene. About half of the boat was completely underwater, the spokeswoman said.
More than 205,000 migrants and refugees have arrived in Europe since January, the IOM said. It said more than 2,400 had died or were reported missing in the Mediterranean this year.

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