Afghan boy, 10, dies amid panic on migrant boat

ATHENS — A 10-year-old Afghan boy was crushed to death on Saturday on board an overcrowded boat carrying scores of migrants headed from Turkey to the Greek island of Lesbos, Greek news agency ANA reported.

Panic erupted when the 66 migrants on board the rickety vessel saw a patrol boat from European border agency Frontex approaching, afraid they would be taken back to Turkey, ANA said.

The boy was on the boat with his parents and two younger sisters. When she discovered her son had died in the chaos, his mother tried to end her life by jumping into the sea, only to be rescued by the coastguard.

Despite a EU-Turkey deal in 2016 aimed at stemming the migrant flow to Greece, refugees and migrants desperate for a fresh start continue to arrive on the southern European nation’s shores -- with a spike in the numbers since this summer.

At least three migrants have drowned this month while attempting to reach Greece, while a nine-year-old girl died in September.

The casualties are far lower than in 2015 and 2016, when hundreds of people drowned, including several children.

Despite the relative improvement, tragedy continues to strike.

On Nov. 11, the remains of a man, a girl and a boy were found on a Lesbos beach.

Citing Turkish reports, Greek media said they belonged to a family of Turkish teachers trying to flee persecution in their country.

According to the unconfirmed reports, the body of the mother and a third child are still missing. — AFP