March 29, 2017 / 2:12 PM / 2 years ago

Boat with 91 migrants, many children, runs aground in Cyprus

ATHENS (Reuters) - Ninety-one people, including 42 children, were rescued in Cyprus on Wednesday after their vessel ran aground in rough seas, authorities said.

Search and rescue coordinators said the occupants were on board a small fishing boat when they were thrown off course toward Cyprus’ northwestern coast and subsequently struck rocks.

“There were rough sea conditions at the time,” a spokesman for the rescue coordination center said.

The broader area where the migrants ran aground was within a patchwork of rival jurisdictions that divide the island along ethnic lines. Greek and Turkish Cypriots have been separated since a Turkish invasion in 1974, triggered by a brief Greek inspired coup.

The nationalities of the migrants were not immediately known.

Despite its proximity to the Middle East, refugees fleeing the region’s conflicts have largely avoided Cyprus due to a lack of easy access to mainland Europe.

Writing by Michele Kambas; Editing by Vin Shahrestani

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