(RepublicanInformer.com)- According to Greek authorities, seven migrants were killed and another eight people injured on Friday after the driver lost control of the mini-bus they were traveling in and crashed near a highway toll station in northern Greece.
Police said the mini-bus carrying fifteen people had been making its way along a highway from Greece’s northeastern border with Turkey to the city of Thessaloniki when it crashed just after midnight.
The vehicle was traveling at a high speed. While attempting to exit the highway, the driver lost control of the vehicle, slamming into a toll booth and crashing into a nearby storage container.
Among those injured in the crash were four men from Pakistan, another from Afghanistan, and two from Nepal. The driver, a 35-year-old from Moldova was also injured. According to the police, the driver was acting as a human smuggler. The injured were taken to hospitals in the northeastern Greek towns of Xanthi and Komotini.
The nationalities of the seven individuals killed in the crash were not immediately known. But authorities did say one woman was among the dead.
The journey through Greece is part of one of the most popular routes into the European Union taken by people fleeing from Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. The illegal migrants often launch their trek from Turkey either by taking the short but dangerous sea crossing from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands or, as in this case, by crossing the heavily-guarded land border between Turkey and Greece.
Last month, it was reported that countries along the routes taken by these illegal migrants have begun pushing back against the flood of people.
In Greece, coastguard units are allegedly intercepting migrant boats and setting them adrift in the Aegean Sea. Recently, similar accusations of pushbacks in the Mediterranean were denied by Greek authorities.
The UN regards such pushback as illegal, saying that countries should grant migrants the right to apply for asylum under international law.
EU leaders have criticized some of Greece’s border tactics and called for a new monitoring system to prevent pushback against migrants at the EU’s frontiers. Meanwhile Amnesty International has criticized the EU for helping member states beef up their border operations to prevent the flow of migrants.