INTERNATIONAL: Over 40 drown after refugee boats capsize off Greek islands

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INTERNATIONAL: Over 40 drown after refugee boats capsize off Greek islands
SKALA SIKAMINIAS, GREECE - JANUARY 03: Volunteer helpers signal where to run ashore to an incoming rubber boat crowed with refugees on January 3, 2016 near Skala Sikaminias, Greece. Lesbos, the Greek vacation island in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, faces massive refugee flows from the Middle East countries. (Photo by Etienne De Malglaive/Getty Images)
SKALA SIKAMINIAS, GREECE - JANUARY 03: Volunteer helpers signal where to run ashore to an incoming rubber boat crowed with refugees on January 3, 2016 near Skala Sikaminias, Greece. Lesbos, the Greek vacation island in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, faces massive refugee flows from the Middle East countries. (Photo by Etienne De Malglaive/Getty Images)
SKALA SIKAMINIAS, GREECE – JANUARY 03: Volunteer helpers signal where to run ashore to an incoming rubber boat crowed with refugees on January 3, 2016 near Skala Sikaminias, Greece. Lesbos, the Greek vacation island in the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece, faces massive refugee flows from the Middle East countries. (Photo by Etienne De Malglaive/Getty Images)

HUFFINGTON POST – At least 42 people, including 17 children, drowned when their boats capsized off two Greek islands near the Turkish coast on Friday, coastguards said, marking one of the deadliest days for migrants risking the perilous route to Europe from Turkey.

According to survivors’ testimonies, dozens were on board a wooden sailboat which went down off Kalolimnos, a small island in the Aegean Sea close to Turkey’s coast, one coastguard official said.

The coastguard rescued 26 people and recovered the bodies of 34 migrants in one of the worst incidents in months, the official said. It was not clear why the vessel capsized.

In the sinking at Farmakonisi, another small island also close to the Turkish coast, six children and two women drowned when their wooden boat crashed on rocks shortly after midnight.

“Another 40 migrants on the vessel managed to swim to the shore,” the coastguard said in a statement.

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