A boat carrying 29 refugees sank off the eastern coast of Farmakonisi early on Wednesday morning, claiming the lives of 13 people, including 7 children.

The Coast Guard launched a search and rescue operation, recovering 15 refugees (13 men and 2 women) and the bodies of the 13 victims (4 men, 2 women and 7 children).

According to reports three of the survivors – two women and one man – where comatose when rescued and have been airlifted to the hospital of Leros for treatment.

The Minister of Shipping and Island Policy Theodoros Dritsas and the Chief of the Coast Guard expressed their deep sorrow for the tragic loss of human life, including many young children.

Between 7:30am on Tuesday and 7:30am on Wednesday, the Coast Guard has rescued 569 refugees in 11 search and rescue operations near the islands of Lesvos, Chios and Farmakonisi.