Immigrants discovered drowned in Greek river

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The Independent Online

Twenty-six illegal immigrants thought to be from Pakistan drowned while trying to cross a river on the border between Greek and Turkey.

The immigrants were found floating in the Evros river by a Greek army patrol. At least 15 victims were pulled from the water yesterday while others were discovered on Tuesday.

Pavlos Pavlidis, a Greek coroner, said yesterday that the immigrants had drowned. "We believe they died four days ago," he added.

Police said that the immigrants, aged between 25 and 30 and including two women, were of Asian origin. Some were carrying documents from Pakistan, they added.

They were found at the border village of Petalo, 19 miles east of the Greek port city of Alexandroupoli, where the river is 30 metres wide and up to 10 metres deep. Costas Hadjiangelou, a regional fire chief, said: "That part of the river forms a horseshoe shape. We still don't know where the immigrants drowned."

Thousands of illegal immigrants from Asia, the Middle East and Eastern Europe enter Greece each year.