At least two people drowned and about 30 are missing after two boats crammed with illegal immigrants bound for Greece sank in the eastern Aegean Sea before dawn on Monday, authorities said.

The vessels foundered about 4 miles north of the island of Samos near the Turkish coast, the Greek Coastguard said. It said 36 people were rescued from the sea.

According to survivors, up to 65 people were on the two vessels, the Coastguard said.

Coastguard vessels, fishing boats and two search and rescue helicopters were combing the area for more survivors. A cruise ship that participated for several hours in the operation was later cleared to continue its journey.

The nationalities of the migrants were unknown.

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