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11 Migrants Killed When Smuggler’s Car Crashes in Greece

Migrants clear the Aristotelous Square in the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki, Oct. 8, 2018. Several hundred asylum-seekers camped outside a police station in Greece's second-largest city, lining up to be arrested and formally processed, as a surge in illegal migration in northern Greece has overwhelmed authorities.

A car carrying migrants collided with a truck in northern Greece Saturday, killing 11 people, police said.

Ten of the victims were believed to be migrants who crossed into the Greece from Turkey. The 11th person was the driver and a suspected migrant smuggler, police said.

Police said the car in which the migrants were packed had another vehicle’s license plates and is suspected of having been used for migrant trafficking. The car had not stopped at a police checkpoint during its journey, but it wasn’t immediately clear how close to the site of the crash that it happened.

Increase in migrants

Police said the crash occurred just after 5 a.m. (0200 GMT) near the town of Kavala. The car, which had been heading to the main northern city of Thessaloniki, collided with a truck heading in the opposite direction and burst into flames. All of the victims have been burned beyond recognition. The truck caught fire as well.

All those in the car were killed. The truck driver, a 39-year-old Greek man, was treated for minor injuries in a hospital in northern Greece before being discharged.

Greek authorities have been seeing an increase in people illegally crossing the Greek-Turkish border in recent months. Many are transported to Thessaloniki, where they head to police stations to be registered and apply for asylum.

Spanish rescues

Elsewhere, Spain’s maritime rescue service says it recovered the bodies of three migrants and feared that another 17 were missing in the Mediterranean Sea.

The service says that its rescue craft found the three bodies in waters near a sinking boat it intercepted east of the Strait of Gibraltar. Rescuers saved 36 men of sub-Saharan origin from the boat. The saved migrants said that another 17 men who had traveled with them were missing.

In total, the service pulled 509 migrants from 15 small boats Friday.

The United Nations says that 337 of the total of 1,783 migrants who have died trying to reach Europe by sea in 2018 perished in waters near Spain.