Turkish Officials : 24 Afghan migrants die after their boat sinks near Istanbul
Istanbul ( Agencies + DIPLOMAT.SO) – At least 24 Afghan migrants were confirmed dead after a boat carrying at least 42 illegal migrants from Afghanistan drowned at the mouth of Istanbul’s Bosphorus strait on Monday.
According to the Turkish Coastgaurd Command, at least seven migrants were rescued while a number of others were still missing.
This comes as earlier reports suggested that the boat was carrying suspected migrants from Afghanistan and Syria.
The reports further added that those on board were mainly Afghans in search of a better life in the EU who had paid several thousand dollars each to people smugglers for a seat on the overloaded vessel.
The boat had set off earlier from Istanbul and had travelled through the Bosphorus Strait on its way to Romania, the coastguard said in a statement.
Rescuers, aided by local fishing vessels, were still searching for at least nine people missing from the boat, which sank three nautical miles north of the northern entrance to the Bosphorus.
It was not immediately clear what had caused the boat to sink with media citing overloading, bad weather conditions or even a collision with another vessel in the busy shipping lane as possibilities.
“There were lots of children on board. The wind is having a bad effect on the rescue efforts. The boat was very, very small, not enough for 50 people,” a captain involved in the rescue efforts, Ali Saruhan, told media.
Jewan Ardog, a member of a fishing crew, told Turkish media that after the accident “bags, shoes, coats and discarded life jackets covered the sea.”
Turkey has become a hub for illegal immigrants who aspire to reach Europe in the search for a better life.
According to reports the afghan migrants had paid people smugglers around $8,750 each to transport them towards Romania and then onwards to wealthier western European countries.For more news and stories, join us on Facebook,Twitter , or contact us through our Email: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org