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3 migrants dead, 56 rescued after the ship sank in Crete

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ATHENS, Greece (AP) A smuggling boat sank on the southern Greek island of Crete on Monday, leaving three dead, while a major rescue operation managed to save 56 others from the sea, authorities said.

The Greek Coast Guard said efforts continued deep into the evening to find other people who may have been in the water. She said it was unclear if anyone was still missing, as survivors were unable to give exact numbers of how many had been on board when the ship sank.

The dead were listed as two children and a woman.

Initially, a person claiming to be a passenger who notified authorities by telephone said 16 people were on the boat that sank 12 miles (19 kilometers) east of Crete amid strong winds on Monday, the coast guard said.

A Greek naval frigate and an air force helicopter took part in the search, along with two Coast Guard ships and three merchant ships.

There was no indication of where the ship was sailing, how big it was, or where it was headed.

The Aegean islands of Greece are often the destination for thousands of asylum seekers and migrants from the Middle East, Africa and Asia crossing the coast near Turkey in the hope of finding a better life in the European Union.

But in some cases, smuggling gangs drive yachts south of Crete to head to Italy.

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