At least 79 migrants drowned early on Wednesday and hundreds more were missing and feared dead after their overloaded boat capsized and sank in open seas off Greece, in one of Europe’s deadliest shipping disasters in recent years.
As a painstaking search for survivors continued, a European rescue-support charity said it believed around 750 people were on board the 20- to 30-metre-long (65- to 100-foot-long) vessel.
The U.N.’s migration agency estimated up to 400 while Greece declined to speculate on the passenger count.
By midday, 104 people had been rescued. A media report said the boat left from Libya, and a shipping ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity said most of those on board were from Egypt, Syria and Pakistan.
Search and rescue operations were to continue through the night, with military aircraft deploying flares to light up the Mediterranean waters around the wreck site about 50 miles (80 km) southwest of the southern Greek coastal town of Pylos.