ATHENS: One migrant was killed and five were injured in the eastern Aegean when their boat crashed into a Greek coastguard vessel that was pursuing them, authorities said on Saturday.

The incident took place off the island of Symi on Friday night when two patrol boats spotted an inflatable speedboat “sailing at high speed, without navigation lights towards the island of Nimos”, Greece’s coastguard said.

The coastguard said the speedboat crashed into a patrol vessel after its driver jumped overboard to avoid arrest, throwing most of the passengers into the sea. The authorities rescued 18 people, including a minor, while the vessel sank. First aid was given to five of the migrants while one more was revived after falling unconscious.

All the migrants were transferred to the port of Symi. Six were admitted to a health centre, “where unfortunately the death of one of the injured was established”, the coastguard said in a statement. The driver of the migrant boat was arrested.

Authorities reported that, according to the passengers, they had each paid $4,000 to be transported to Greece from Datca in Turkiye.

Many migrants try to reach the Greek islands from Turkiye’s western coasts, hoping to eventually reach prosperous European Union countries, with many dying in the perilous crossing.

Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2024

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