October 19, 2015 / 12:04 AM / 4 years ago

Five migrants drown off Greek islands, one missing

ATHENS (Reuters) - Five people, including a baby and two children, drowned and one was missing in two separate incidents of migrants trying to reach Greece from nearby Turkey on Sunday, the Greek coastguard said.

The service said a sail boat early on Sunday reported it had recovered the body of a baby and had rescued 11 migrants off the Kastellorizo island. The coast guard, which then rushed to the spot, recovered the corpses of another two women and a boy, while it was looking for a missing man, it said.

Thousands of refugees — mostly fleeing war-torn Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq — attempt daily to cross the Aegean Sea from neighboring Turkey, a short trip but a perilous one in the inflatable boats the migrants use, often in rough seas.

Almost 400,000 people have arrived in Greece this year, according to the U.N. refugee agency UNHCR, overwhelming the cash-strapped nation’s capacity.

In a separate incident, a boy, part of a group of about 110 people, drowned when he fell off a boat en route to the island of Farmakonisi. The rest of the people managed to get ashore.

The EU has offered Turkey 3 billion euros ($3.4 billion) in aid and the prospect of easier travel visas and “re-energized” talks on joining the bloc if it helps stem the flow across its territory.

Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou; Editing by Mark Potter

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