Refugee boy becomes first casualty in 2016 as boat sinks off Greek island

Updated: 2016-01-04 10:40


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Refugee boy becomes first casualty in 2016 as boat sinks off Greek island

Hagop Manushian, a Syrian refugee who arrived earlier in the morning is reunited with his granddaughter Rita at the Armenian Community Centre of Toronto in Toronto, Ontario, Dec 11, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

ATHENS - A drowned boy toddler became the first refugee victim in 2016 after a Greece-bound boat which he was aboard capsized off the Greek coast of Agathonisi island in the Aegean Sea while en route from Turkey, the Greek Coast Guard announced on Sunday.

The rubber dinghy carrying 40 people crashed onto rocks amid adverse weather conditions on Saturday, local authorities said.

The body of the dead boy was retrieved by the Greek Coast Guard. His identity, age and nationality are yet to be clarified.

A rescue operation was underway off the Oinousses island on Sunday to locate six people missing after another similar boat incident, the Greek Coast Guard said. Fifty people have been rescued in the second incident.

More than 3,770 migrants or refugees died in 2015 when trying to reach Europe by crossing the Mediterranean Sea, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Despite the rough seas that pose increasing risks, officials and non-governmental organizations expect the flow of desperate people fleeing war zones in Syria and other countries or regions to continue in 2016.