A migrant boat sinks off the Turkish coast, killing at least 22 people

A member of Turkish Coastal Security uses binoculars on the Turkey's shore of Aegean sea in Eceabat, Turkey, Friday, March 15, 2024. A rubber dinghy carrying migrants sank off Turkey's northern Aegean coast on Friday, killing at least 22 people, officials said. (Dia Images via AP)

A member of Turkish Coastal Security uses binoculars on the Turkey’s shore of Aegean sea in Eceabat, Turkey, Friday, March 15, 2024. A rubber dinghy carrying migrants sank off Turkey’s northern Aegean coast on Friday, killing at least 22 people, officials said. (Dia Images via AP)

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — A rubber dinghy carrying migrants sank off Turkey’s northern Aegean coast on Friday, killing at least 22 people, officials said.

Turkish coast guard personnel rescued two migrants from the sea off the town of Eceabat in Canakkale province, while two others reached the shore by themselves and notified officials, Gov. Ilhami Aktas said.

It was not clear how many people were on the boat when it sank and the coast guard was continuing to search the area, he said.

Aktas told the state-run Anadolu Agency that seven of the dead were infants or children.

The migrants’ nationalities were not immediately known.

They were trying to reach the Greek island of Samothraki, the private Demiroren News Agency reported.

Eighteen rescue boats, a plane, two helicopters and a drone were involved in the search and rescue mission, the statement said. Ambulances were on standby at a nearby port, Anadolu reported.

Although their numbers have declined in recent years, migrants mostly from the Middle East and Africa often leave Turkey to try to reach Greece or Italy in search of a better life in European countries.

The Turkish coast guard said it caught at least 93 migrants attempting to leave the Turkish coast on boats this week.

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