Afghan handball player, wife, son drown in Greece waters
KABUL (Pajhwok): A national handball team member, Zubair Azizi, has drowned along with his wife and a one-year-old son in Greece waters on their way from Turkey to Europe.
Aziz left Kabul along with his family a week back, but their boat capsized in Greece waters three days back, according to Mohammad Yousaf Niazi, the president of Afghanistan Handball Federation.
He said the 27-year-old handball player had been part of the national handball team for the past 10 years and he had played matches abroad as well.
He said Turkish coastguards had retrieved the bodies of Aziz, his wife and son from waters and the corpses were expected to arrive in Kabul during the ongoing week.
Foreign media reported that at least 45 people, including 17 children, have died after their boats sank near two Greek islands, making January the deadliest on record for deaths of migrants and refugees in the Mediterranean.
The deaths occurred off two small islands in the eastern Aegean. The highest death toll came when a wooden sailboat sank off Kalolymnos. The coastguard recovered 34 bodies and rescued 26 people. The number of those missing is not known, although between 70 and 100 people were thought to be on board
At the same time, a wooden boat carrying 49 people sank after crashing into a rocky area off Farmakonisi, to the north of Kalolymnos. Forty people scrambled to shore, one girl was rescued, but six children and two women died.
A large number of Afghans have so far drowned in sea waters after embarking on the dangerous journey to Europe through smuggling routes.
According to reports, nearly 160,000 Afghans have reached Europe in 2014 through smuggling routes and have applied for asylum.
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