Greece boat disaster: Capsized boat had 100 children in hold, BBC told

Survivors from a fishing boat that sank off southern Greece in one of Europe’s worst migrant disasters say up to 100 children may have been on board.

At least 78 people have already been confirmed dead in the disaster.

But many more could still be missing at sea, with reports suggesting that up to 750 people were aboard the vessel.

At least 11 arrests have been made including several Egyptians on suspicion of people trafficking, Greek TV reports.

The coastguard has been criticised for not intervening earlier but authorities say their offers of aid were refused.

Rescuers are still searching the area where the boat capsized almost 50 nautical miles off the south-west coast, as hopes of finding more survivors dwindle.

The boat had been heading to Italy from the Libyan port of Tobruk when it went down.

Images showed the decks packed with people, but accounts of a large number of women and children in the hold of the ship have come from medics who treated the mostly male survivors.

The senior doctor at Kalamata General Hospital told the BBC as many as 100 children were on the vessel.

“[The survivors] told us there were children in the bottom of the ship. Children and women,” said Dr Manolis Makaris, head of cardiology.

He said two patients had given him estimated figures.

“One told me about 100 children, the other about 50, so I don’t know the truth – but it is many,” he added.



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