Boat sinks off Turkey’s Aegean coast killing 28 refugees

25 refugees including three children die off Turkey’s Aegean coast after their boat sank

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

A search and rescue operation is carried out after a boat carrying refugees sank in the Aegean Sea off Turkey's western province of Aydin on March 6, 2016.

At least 25 people, including three children, have died after a boat carrying refugees sank off Didim, a district in Turkey's western province of Aydin.

District governor said the Turkish Coast Guard have rescued 15 refugees from the boat, which was en route to Greece when it sank.

Reportedly the search-and-rescue operation is still ongoing. The total number of refugees involved is not yet known.

Turkey’s Aegean provinces - Canakkale, Balikesir, Izmir, Mugla and Aydin - are prime spots for refuges leaving for the EU, many trying to reach the Greek islands lying within sight of the Turkish coast.

Over the past year, hundreds of thousands have made the short-but-perilous journey in a bid to reach northern and western Europe in search for a better life.

Nearly 135,000 refugees have crossed into Greece and Italy since the beginning of 2016, according to the Organisation for Migration (IOM). Of the 134,905 migrants who have already crossed the Mediterranean this year, 125,819 have reached the Greek islands as of March 3 while the others landed in Italy. Media reports indicate that arrivals in Spain in 2016 are fewer than 100.

Of the more than 1.1 million refugees who arrived in the EU last year, more than 850,000 arrived by sea to Greece from Turkey, according to the IOM. Over the course of the year, 805 people died in the Aegean.

TRTWorld and agencies