| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

Greece boat tragedy: At least 209 Pakistanis were on board, data suggests

According to data supplied with Reuters on Thursday by a Pakistani investigating agency, there were at least 209 Pakistani “victims” on an overcrowded boat that overturned and perished in open waters off the coast of Greece last week.

The 209 figure is based on information supplied by families who came forward to report a member had boarded the boat sailing from Libya to Greece and was still missing, according to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

The official death toll from the accident still stands at 82 and the number of survivors at 104, of whom 12 were Pakistanis.

“An investigation to verify this is underway,” FIA Islamabad Zone Director Rana Abdul Jabbar told Reuters.

The FIA has been tasked by the Pakistan government with handling investigations into the tragedy.

Hundreds of people from different countries are believed to have been on board the vessel, in what is seen as the worst sea disaster in years for the region.

Pakistan is yet to officially confirm how many of its citizens were on the boat, but kick-started a DNA sampling effort to help Greece identify those who died.

The data shared by the FIA showed that 181 people were from Pakistan and 28 from Pakistan-administered Kashmir. Officials gathered the DNA samples from 201 families.

Witness accounts suggested that between 400 and 750 people had crammed onto the 20- to 30 metre-long (65- to 100-foot) fishing boat which then capsized and sank early on June 14 about 50 miles (80 km) from the southern coastal town of Pylos.

The FIA said 29 suspected human smugglers had been arrested in Pakistan so far over the case.

  • Reuters