The bodies of six people were discovered by passerby who saw them washed off on coast of Greece's Lesvos Island.

Lesvos is a frequent transit zone for migrants travelling to western Europe.
Lesvos is a frequent transit zone for migrants travelling to western Europe. (Reuters)

The bodies of at least six asylum seekers have been found off Greece’s island of Lesvos, at a time when Athens stands accused of rights abuses against irregular arrivals.

The accident was only noticed early on Tuesday when a passerby saw the bodies of the irregular migrants washed ashore by the sea.

The Greek Coast Guard is currently operating a large-scale search and rescue operation in the area to locate possible survivors.

According to a statement by the Coast Guard, the six bodies that were found did not have life jackets. The cause of the shipwreck is still unknown.

READ MORE: Türkiye slams Greece over 'inhumane practices' against migrants

Illegal pushbacks

Lesvos, an Aegean Sea island near Türkiye's west coast, is a frequent transit zone for migrants travelling to western Europe from Asia and the Middle East.

Supported by the European Union's border agency Frontex, Greece has tightened checks and limited the arrivals of migrants and asylum seekers on its Aegean islands in recent years.

The head of the UN's refugee agency UNHCR last month voiced concern about reports that Greece was involved in nearly 540 incidents of informal returns of migrants and asylum seekers at its land and sea borders with Türkiye since 2020.

The Greek government has always denied carrying out illegal pushbacks of migrants and asylum seekers.

Almost one million people passed through Greece's islands to reach western Europe at the height of refugee influx in 2015.

READ MORE: Türkiye holds Greece, EU responsible for migrants freezing to death

Source: TRTWorld and agencies