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Greece: 7 migrants killed in boat sinking

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March 18, 2014 03:17 AM EST | AP

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Authorities in Greece said Tuesday they had recovered the bodies of seven immigrants who drowned overnight when a boat sank in the eastern Aegean Sea after traveling illegally from nearby Turkey.

The Merchant Marine Ministry said another eight people were rescued near the island of Lesvos. Two of the bodies were found in the water off the coast of the island, while the other five were recovered from their semi-sunken boat.

Authorities were still searching for two more migrants believed missing from the boat. Three coast guard vessels, a helicopter and private boats were involved in the search.

The migrants' nationalities and details of how the boat sank were not immediately known.

Greece is a major transit point for illegal immigration into the European Union, with many making the journey to Greek islands from the nearby Turkish coast in small boats that are often overloaded and unseaworthy. In January, 12 immigrants drowned when a boat overturned near the eastern Greek island of Farmakonisi