The Greek coast guard has recovered seven bodies — including those of three children and a baby — after a wooden boat carrying refugees collided with a patrol boat and sank during a rescue operation near the island of Lesbos. The coast guard said 31 people were rescued, and survivors reported eight had been missing. The coast guard is still searching for the one remaining missing person.

The incident occurred half a nautical mile north of Lesbos, the island that has been the entry point of a large number of refugees making the journey from the nearby Turkish coast.

Lesbos boat
A wooden boat carrying refugees sinks after colliding with a Greek coast guard boat off the island of LesbosDimitar Dilkoff/AFP
Lesbos boat
People are seen in the sea after a wooden boat carrying refugees sank after colliding with a Greek coast guard boatDimitar Dilkoff/AFP
Lesbos boat
A Greek coast guard diver pulls the body of a refugee child away from a sunken wooden boat near the Greek island of LesbosGiorgos Moutafis/Reuters
Lesbos boat
A Greek coast guard diver carries the body of a refugee child out of the water and onto a beach as employees of a funeral home open a body bag on the Greek island of LesbosGiorgos Moutafis/Reuters
Lesbos boat
A Greek coast guard diver is helped to carry the body of a drowned refugee woman onto a beach on the Greek island of LesbosGiorgos Moutafis/Reuters

Every day, thousands of refugees – mostly from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq – attempt to cross the Aegean Sea from nearby Turkey, a short but perilous trip by boat, often in rough seas due to poor weather. Almost 400,000 people have arrived in Greece so far this year, according to the UN refugee agency UNHCR, overwhelming the crisis-stricken government's ability to cope.