ATHENS, Greece – Greece's coast guard says 117 migrants have been rescued off the western Greek island of Zakinthos after issuing a mayday call.
Greek authorities launched a rescue operation Saturday night after receiving the distress call. A military plane spotted the vessel west of Zakinthos in the Ionian Sea, the coast guard said Sunday. It was unclear what the emergency was.
A lifeboat transferred the passengers to a passing cruise ship, the Island Princess, which was expected to arrive in a port on the western Greek mainland later Sunday.
Tens of thousands of migrants have arrived in Greece so far this year, usually on Aegean islands from the nearby Turkish coast, overwhelming local authorities. Aid groups say Greece urgently needs more help from the European Union to deal with the influx.