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British-flagged boat with at least 17 on board sinks off coast of Greek island

British-flagged boat with at least 17 on board sinks off coast of Greek island

A British-flagged boat, reportedly carrying tourists, has sunk off the Greek island of Milos with a rescue operation involving several vessels and a navy helicopter dispatched to find the 17 passengers.

Speaking to channel ERT, Nikos Kokkalas, a spokesman of the Ministry of Shipping confirmed media reports that a vessel, believed to be a yacht, carrying 17 passengers sank on Thursday morning. All passengers are now safe. 

According to ERT, Kokkalas said the passengers themselves had raised a distress signal and had time to put their life jackets on before the vessel sank. A speedboat was first at the scene and collected passengers from the sea. 

The boat, which is reportedly 30 meters (98 feet) long, sank for unknown reasons according to the coast guard who said that three of its vessels, a navy helicopter, an air force helicopter and a private boat, were involved in the rescue effort. 

The incident took place approximately 16 nautical miles northwest of the Greek island of Milos. The weather was considered fair and the winds were only moderate. It is believed the rescued passengers are being taken back to port on Milos. 

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The coast guard was unable to confirm the nationality of the passengers. 

Greece’s emergency services have been working overtime in recent weeks as the nation battles wildfires induced by scorching temperatures and strong winds. Firefighters from all around the world have been drafted in to support Greek efforts.

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