Dozens drown in Aegean Sea when traffickers’ boat capsizes
AUSTRIAN police rescued 42 refugees from the back of a refrigerator lorry yesterday, as 28 more drowned in the Aegean Sea.
The latest tragedy occurred off the Greek island of Farmakonissi when a wooden boat carrying more than 120 people capsized. Half of the victims were children, four of them infants.
The Greek coastguard rescued 68 people from the sea and another 30 made it to the shore alone.
Austrian police found the 42 people, including five women and eight children, in the back of a Finnish-registered lorry used to transport flowers near the border with Germany.
The discovery was made at a rest stop on the A8 road at Aistersheim by officers looking for traffickers’ vehicles.
Police said in a statement that all the refugees were in good health and the suspected smugglers, two Iraqis, had been arrested.
The incident recalled the horrifying discovery of 71 refugees’ badly decomposed remains on August 27 after they suffocated in a similar vehicle on the main road between Hungary and Austria.
Meanwhile, a record 4,330 people entered Hungary from Serbia in 24 hours, as engineers began adding razor wire to the top of a planned 109-mile border fence. Troops with assault rifles patrolled the frontier as the government said anyone crossing illegally would be arrested and charged.
In an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel published on Saturday, Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann compared Hungary’s treatment of refugees to the nazis’ deportations of Jews.
“Sticking refugees in trains and sending them somewhere completely different to where they think they’re going reminds us of the darkest chapter of our continent’s history,” he said.
Budapest immediately rejected the comparison, accusing Vienna of a “campaign of lies” against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government.
Small Hungarian environmentalist opposition party Politics Can Be Different suggested yesterday that electronic tags be fixed to refugees entering the country to track their whereabouts.
Romanian Interior Minister Gabriel Oprea said his country would not take in any more than the 1,785 refugees it already hosts, after the EU asked his government to accept a further 4,650.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced yesterday afternoon that his country was introducing temporary border checks on the Austrian frontier in a bid to limit the influx of refugees.