A migrant boat after landing on Lesbos' northern coast | Photo: Holly Young
A migrant boat after landing on Lesbos' northern coast | Photo: Holly Young

At least seven people including two small children have been reported dead after a boat carrying migrants sank in the Aegean Sea. 57 others were rescued, the Greek coast guard said.

The boat carrying dozens of migrants set sail from the Turkish coast near Ayvalik and overturned off the Greek island of Lesbos on Tuesday morning. The Greek coastguard said it was able to rescue 57 people.

The Greek coast guard and a Frontex patrol boat later retrieved the bodies of four women, one man and two small girls from the water. 

A search and rescue operation in the area off the eastern Aegean island was called off after all those on board had been accounted for, the coast guard said. There were no further passengers reported missing, AP reports.

Arrivals from Turkey to Greece up

The easternmost Greek islands are located just a few kilometers from the Turkish coast. In recent months, they have seen an increase in migrant arrivals. According to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, around 9,700 migrants have taken the perilous journey so far this year. 

Though the trip is short, weather conditions are often tough and many smugglers use unseaworthy boats and pack them beyond capacity, leading to many sinking or capsizing.

Last year, at least 174 people drowned on this route, dpa reports.