Coast guard vessels trying to approach refugees stranded on islets south of Crete

Two coast guard vessels are trying to approach the small islets of Paximaia, located off the southern coast of the municipality of Rethymno in Crete, where more than 40 refugees and migrants have been stranded, the coast guard said on Thursday.

The refugees were on a boat that started having problems, according to the person who informed port authorities, and they decided to land on the islets. The two coast guard vessels have not been able to reach them so far because of strong wind blowing in the area.

“The winds are north-western reaching 7 on the Beaufort scale and the coast guard crews cannot approach [the islets],” Rethymno port chief Konstantinos Kastrinakis told the Athens-Macedonian News Agency.

He said the crewmen were able to assess through binoculars that there must be more than 40 people on the islets but could not determine whether there are any children among them.