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79 dead, over 100 missing in Greece boat disaster

Survivors from the Greece boat disaster at kalamata. photo: dailyimages

A fishing boat said to be sailing off from Libya to Italy has capsized with as many as 750 people packed onboard, including 100 children.

According to BBC, at least 79 people have been confirmed dead and more than 100 rescued from the sea, in one of Greece’s biggest migrant boat tragedies.

Authorities maintain that their offers of assistance were rejected, yet are still under pressure for allegedly not doing enough.

The European Union (EU) border agency, Frontex, said it had spotted the boat early on Tuesday afternoon and immediately told the Greek and Italian authorities, after which the Coastguard said no-one onboard was wearing a life jacket.

On Wednesday, someone onboard reportedly alerted the Greek Coastguard that the vessel’s engine malfunctioned, and shortly after the boat capsized.

Jérôme Tubiana of Médecins Sans Frontières told French radio that the European and Greek authorities should both have intervened earlier.

The regional health director, Yiannis Karvelis warned of a bizarre tragedy, saying the number of people onboard was much higher than the capacity that should be allowed on the boat.

Survivors were rushed to hospital and a deport in Kalamata that was being used as temporary shelter.

Greek president, Katerina Sakellaropoulou has visited some of the survivors and expressed her grievance to those who drowned.

Writing byJuliet Onwurah; Editing by Oluwaseyi Ajibade and Tony Okerafor