Nine refugees, including two babies drown off Turkish coast

Nine refugees including two babies die after boat carrying them capsize off Turkish coast

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

The bodies of nine people, including two babies, were found off the coast of western Turkey on Tuesday, after a boat carrying refugees to Greece partly capsized, the Turkish coast guard said in a statement.

The fibreglass vessel partially capsized at 5:35am local time (0335 GMT) off the coast of Seferihisar in Izmir Province, close to the Greek Island of Samos. Two people were rescued while swimming to the shore, the coast guard said.

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

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

More than 1.1 million refugees arrived in the EU last year, out of those numbers, more than 850,000 arrived by sea to Greece from Turkey, according to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Over the course of the year, 805 people died in the Aegean.

In the first month of 2016, more than 52,000 people arrived by sea to Greece and 218 died off the Turkish coast, the IOM said.

TRTWorld, Reuters