Heartbreaking Photos Show Refugees' Desperate Attempt to Save Drowning Children Off Coast of Greece

Overcrowded and poorly made boats are still causing deaths in the Mediterranean.

ByMeghan Keneally
September 14, 2015, 11:59 AM
PHOTO: A refugee appears exhausted while swimming towards the shore after a dinghy carrying Syrian and Afghan refugees deflated about 100 meters before reaching the Greek island of Lesbos, Sept. 13, 2015.
A refugee appears exhausted while swimming towards the shore after a dinghy carrying Syrian and Afghan refugees deflated about 100 meters before reaching the Greek island of Lesbos, Sept. 13, 2015.
Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

— -- The death toll in the refugee crisis in Europe continues to rise as people try to use overcrowded or poorly built boats to bring them to Greek isles from Turkey.

At least 34 people died on Sunday, including 15 children, off the coast of the Greek island of Farmakonissi, according to the Associated Press, who spoke to the Greek coast guard.

That wooden boat sank due to high winds and rough seas, the coast guard said.

Two coast guard vessels and a diving team searched the waters off Farmakonissi looking for survivors or bodies on Monday, the AP reports. So far, 68 people have been rescued from the sea after the incident and 30 others were able to swim on their own to the nearby island.

PHOTO: A refugee raises a child into the air as Syrian and Afghan refugees are seen on and around a dinghy that deflated about 100 meters from the Greek island of Lesbos, Sept. 13, 2015.
A refugee raises a child into the air as Syrian and Afghan refugees are seen on and around a dinghy that deflated about 100 meters from the Greek island of Lesbos, Sept. 13, 2015.
Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
PHOTO: A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a flotation device as he swims towards the shore after their dinghy deflated before reaching the Greek island of Lesbos, Sept. 13, 2015.
A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a flotation device as he swims towards the shore after their dinghy deflated before reaching the Greek island of Lesbos, Sept. 13, 2015.
Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

Those latest figures would account for 132 people who were on board that boat.

That represents just a portion of those who were in need of rescuing this weekend. The coast guard said that it rescued 1,429 people at sea in 58 incidents in the waters off more than a half dozen islands this weekend alone.

Some of the most dramatic photos captured this weekend show a group of Syrian and Afghan refugees and migrants trying to save themselves after a dinghy that they were traveling on deflated around 100 meters off the coast of the Greek island of Lesbos.

PHOTO: Syrian and Afghan refugees fall into the sea after their dinghy deflated before reaching the Greek island of Lesbos, Sept. 13, 2015.
Syrian and Afghan refugees fall into the sea after their dinghy deflated before reaching the Greek island of Lesbos, Sept. 13, 2015.
Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters
PHOTO: A refugee shouts as he swims towards the shore after a dinghy carrying Syrian and Afghan refugees deflated about 100 meters before reaching the Greek island of Lesbos, Sept. 13, 2015.
A refugee shouts as he swims towards the shore after a dinghy carrying Syrian and Afghan refugees deflated about 100 meters before reaching the Greek island of Lesbos, Sept. 13, 2015.
Alkis Konstantinidis/Reuters

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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