Greek rescuers save 430 migrants on boat

Greek coastguard crews have rescued about 430 migrants from a boat in distress south of the island of Crete, officials say.

The people in the boat sent off a distress call overnight.

Once rescuers responded, it took hours to help the people because of high winds and the risk the boat the migrants were using was about to capsize.

The migrants' boat was escorted back to harbour in Paleochora, in Crete's southwest, by a Greek navy ship and two fishing vessels that also responded to the distress call.

Images aired on Greek TV showed a rusty boat overflowing with passengers.

Many of the passengers reportedly came from Pakistan and Syria.

It is not uncommon for those in the people smuggling trade to use extremely old boats that are barely seaworthy to transit people across the Mediterranean.

These boats routinely run into trouble during the crossing, Greek coastguard officials said.

It is not known how many such boats have sunk, claiming lives, this year.

Estimates say the death toll in the eastern Mediterranean this year could be more than 300, and thus double last year's figure.

United Nations officials recorded 115 such deaths for 2021.