Two drown, five missing as migrants head for Greek island

ATHENS (REUTERS) - Two people drowned and five were believed missing when a dinghy carrying migrants capsized off the Greek island of Lesbos on Monday, as many hundreds continued to head to Greek territory from nearby Turkey.

The Greek coastguard said it had rescued eight people on the northern coast of the island early on Monday, and recovered the bodies of two men.

Survivors told authorities that about 15 people were in the inflatable dinghy when it overturned. A search was underway in the area for survivors, a spokesman said.

Lesbos, which lies less than 10 km (six miles) from the Turkish coast, has seen thousands of arrivals in recent months, mostly refugees from the Syrian civil war. In the past week alone, aid groups believe numbers have exceeded 1,500 per day.

The migrants head to the Greek mainland and try to make their way north through the Balkans. Long lines snaked through southern Serbia by foot on Monday before jumping on trains and buses north to Hungary and the last leg of an increasingly desperate journey to western Europe.

More than 2,300 people have died this year in attempts to reach Europe by boat, according to the International Organisation for Migration, mainly on the much longer crossing from north Africa to Italy.

(Reporting By Angeliki Koutantou, writing by Michele Kambas; editing by David Stamp)