THESSALONIKI, Greece (AP) — One man was swept away and drowned and a woman was missing after a group of migrants trekking through the hills of northern Greece to avoid police patrols crossed a swollen torrent amid rainstorms Wednesday, authorities said.
Police said the Iranian man’s body was found by rescuers responding to an emergency call by another Iranian man who had been with the group and stayed behind to help the two. Efforts to locate the missing woman in the area, 40 kilometers (25 miles) east of the Greek city of Thessaloniki, were to continue Thursday.
Police said the migrants had entered Greece illegally from Turkey, and were believed to have been driven to the area by smugglers who left them to make their own way to Thessaloniki. It was unclear how many people had been in the group, which moved on after the accident.
Severe rainstorms and snowfall are affecting much of northern and central Greece, with temperatures around freezing. Gale-force winds kept most Greek island ferries confined to port Wednesday.
Greece is a major entry point for people from the Middle East, Asia and Africa seeking a better life in the European Union. Most enter from neighboring Turkey, either crossing the northeastern land border or cramming into smuggling boats headed for the eastern Aegean Sea islands.
Recently, smuggling gangs have even been piling migrants into yachts heading from Turkey to Italy. Dozens of migrants died in a series of accidents in the central Aegean last month.
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