A Syrian man has been rescued off Cyprus after the boat he was travelling in capsized, officials said, with media reporting Friday he told police another seven migrants had drowned.
Cypriot rescue workers said the 32-year-old was picked up at sea Thursday by a US-flagged cargo vessel and airlifted to a hospital on the Mediterranean island suffering from hypothermia.
The man told police Friday that he was the lone survivor from a group of eight Syrian migrants who left Lebanon on December 21 in a boat they had purchased, Cypriot state radio said.
The migrants tried to use GPS to navigate their way to Cyprus but lost direction and ran out of fuel before their boat capsized in stormy seas Tuesday, the radio cited a police source as saying.
Over the past 12 months there has been a steady flow of Syrian migrants arriving in Cyprus from Turkey and Lebanon.
European Union member Cyprus has warned Brussels it faces growing pressure from increasing irregular migration.
EU data earlier this year showed it had received more asylum applications per capita than any of the bloc's other 28 nations.
Cyprus said it has received over 4,000 asylum requests in the first eight months of 2018 -- 55 percent more than in the same period last year.
But despite lying just 160 kilometres from the coast of war-torn Syria, Cyprus has not seen the massive inflow of migrants experienced by Turkey and Greece.
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