A predawn operation has rescued 77 migrants from a crippled yacht off Greece’s Aegean Sea islands

A group of 77 migrants were rescued off a crippled sailing yacht after a large overnight operation in the southern Aegean Sea, Greek authorities said Monday.

Nobody was reported missing or injured following the rescue between the islands of Amorgos and Astypalaia, Greece’s coast guard said.

Three coast guard vessels, four merchant ships in the area and two smaller private boats took part in the rescue after passengers on the yacht phoned emergency services for assistance.

The nationalities of the migrants were not immediately known. All were taken to Naxos in the Cyclades island group, where they were given temporary shelter.

It was unclear where the migrants had departed from. They were rescued on a route typically used by smuggling gangs to ferry migrants from Turkey to Italy, avoiding tightly patrolled waters around Greece’s eastern Aegean islands.

Such trips are more common in the summer when the weather is milder and when the smugglers’ yachts are likelier to pass by undetected amid the large numbers of yachts chartered by tourists visiting popular Greek islands.

Greece is a key entry point for thousands of people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia seeking a better life in the affluent European Union.


Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

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