Search after immigrants' boat tips

Last updated 22:08 20/01/2014

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Greek rescuers are seeking 12 people reported missing in the eastern Aegean Sea after a fishing boat packed with immigrants that was being towed to the shore by a coastguard vessel capsized in the dark.

A Merchant Marine Ministry statement says another 16 people were rescued early on Monday (local time) near Farmakonissi islet. Their nationalities were unknown.

Greece is a major entry point for people from impoverished or war-torn Asian and African countries seeking a better life in Europe. Most risk entering illegally by sea, and fatal accidents are frequent.

The ministry said Monday the vessel was found drifting by a patrol boat that tried to tow it to Farmakonissi. About 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometres) offshore, two people dived into the sea, prompting a rush that capsized the boat.

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- AP

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