Athens, – At least 16 refugees, two of them children, drowned in the Aegean Sea when their vessel capsized off the coast of Lesbos, the Greek Coastguard told dpa on Monday.

A search was ongoing for another nine people from the boat amid fears that the death toll could rise, an official said.

The Greek coastguard and the EU border-management agency FRONTEX pulled nine bodies from the water and Turkish rescuers seven.

The bodies were found a few kilometres away from the port of Molyvos on Lesbos, the main gateway for refugees and migrants attempting to reach Europe from Turkey via Greece.

More than 1 million people took the route across the Aegean in 2015 and 2016 and then moved on into western Europe through Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary or Croatia and Slovenia.

Close to 1,200 people were confirmed drowned in the Aegean at the peak of the migration wave, which began to wane in March 2016 when countries on the Balkan route closed their borders to refugees and migrants.(QNA)

Source: Qatar News Agency