Search for migrant boat as powerful storm lashes Greece

Greek authorities have launched a large search and rescue operation following a distress call from a vessel carrying dozens of migrants, which was caught in a powerful storm that battered western Greece with hurricane-force winds and heavy rain

Coast guard officials said at least three merchant ships reached the area where the vessel, believed to be carrying more than 50 people, was reported in trouble off the southwest Peloponnese region but had not found any trace of it by late afternoon.

Coast guard vessels and rescue helicopters were unable to join the operation due to the high winds from the powerful tropical-style storm named Ianos.

The storm battered the western islands of Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Lefkada and Ithaki overnight, causing flash flooding, property damage, power outages, and road closures mostly from downed trees, while several docked yachts were sunk in harbors, police and local authorities said.

No injuries were reported.

The storm, with winds exceeding 110 kilometers per hour (70 miles per hour), reached the western mainland Friday. Computer models suggested that the storm would not directly affect Athens but heavy rainfall was expected in the Greek capital from late Friday.