Migrant woman drowns off Greek island of Lesbos, two rescued

ATHENS (Reuters) - One woman drowned off the Greek island of Lesbos and two others were rescued on Friday after they fell out of an overcrowded inflatable raft carrying dozens of migrants, Greece’s coastguard said on Friday.

The raft had reached Lesbos earlier on Friday with 24 people on board. They told Greek authorities three women had fallen out of the dinghy while crossing from the Turkish coast to the island.

Sea crossings on overcrowded boats are often hazardous and earlier this month the Greek coastguard found the body of a migrant near a half-sunken vessel on Lesbos. In September, at least three people drowned when a boat carrying migrants sank off the Greek island of Crete.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees used Greece as the main gateway to Europe through Turkey in 2015 and 2016, until a deal between Ankara and the European Union reduced the flow across the Greek and Turkish land and sea borders.

Turkey hosts more than three million refugees and migrants, while tens of thousands of asylum seekers are still in Greece waiting for their applications to be processed, mostly housed in camps where conditions have been described as dire.

Reporting by Lefteris Papadimas; Editing by Gareth Jones