Two-year-old becomes first migrant casualty of 2016

3,600 died while crossing the Mediterranean last year

Two-year-old becomes first migrant casualty of 2016

Refugees and migrants aboard a dinghy approach the Greek island of Lesbos, on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2016. (Santi Palacios/AP)

A two-year-old boy has become the first known migrant casualty of 2016 after drowning when his dinghy hit rocks off the Greek island of Agathonisi.

According to AFP, the other 39 passengers aboard the crowded vessel were rescued after local fishermen raised the alrm.

The survivors were rescued by a responder boat operated by the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, and were brought to the nearby port of Pythagorio on Samos.

"Today we came face to face with one of the youngest victims of this ongoing refugee crisis. It is a tragic reminder of the thousands of people who have died trying to reach safety in miserable conditions," said MOAS founder and US entrepreneur Christopher Catrambone.

Almost one million migrants and refugees arrived in Europe via boat last year, fleeing conflicts and poverty in Africa and the Middle East. Over 3,600 died during the crossing.