Lesbos Island: MSF & Greenpeace rescue teams assist as a wooden boat carrying 85 people capsized

17 December 2015

On December 16 a boat carrying about 85 people capsized off the northern shores of Lesbos provoking the death of at least 2 people. MSF and Greenpeace participated to the rescue operations.

MSF renews its call for a safe and legal passage at the land border between Turkey and Greece and urges the Greek and EU authorities to step up search and rescue operations in the Aegean Sea. When the assistance boats arrived at the scene, the team quickly began rescuing as manypeople as possible, handing out all kinds of floating devices to help those still in the cold water.

Survivors were transferred to a Norwegian Frontex vessel that had arrived to support the rescue operation. Others were transferred to other actors operating in the area. “It was overloaded, sinking at the back, and literally tipping over onto itself due to the massive amount of passengers,” says Kim Clausen, MSF Deputy Project Coordinator. "When we arrived, there were strong winds and the waves were at least one meter high and people were already in the water. What is needed to stop these deaths is a real search and rescue operation that is actively searching for these boats before they begin to sink.”

All photos by Will Rose.

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