130 Migrants Saved From Sinking Boat

Coastguard says the boat took on water about 55.5km southeast of Koufonisi, a small island south of Crete.

(File photo)

Coastguard

The 130 migrants rescued from a boat that sank south of Crete and being taken to the town of Ierapetra, where local officials have prepared a secondary school to host them temporarily

Coastguard authorities said in a statement the boat began taking on water about 55.5km southeast of Koufonisi, a small island south of Crete, in the Libyan Sea.

The vessel, which put out a distress call shortly after 6am on Tuesday, has now sunk.

A passing cargo vessel, en route to Malta, had begun collecting the passengers of the stricken 35m sailboat, the coastguard said.

There was no immediate information on the nationalities of the people on board.

The mayor of Ierapetra, the capital of the nearest prefecture, oversaw preparations in the town to receive people from the boat.

Greece is the main point of entry for migrants trying to enter the European Union illegally. Tens of thousands cross the border from Turkey or sail to the country’s southern islands from north Africa each year.

– AP, EnetEnglish