Wed | Dec 7, 2016

Migrant boat sinks; 22 dead, 6 rescued

Published:Tuesday | November 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Dead bodies covered with blankets lie on the ground after a boat carrying suspected migrants from Afghanistan and Syria sank just north of the Bosphorus Strait off the coast of Istanbul, Turkey, yesterday.

ISTANBUL (AP): A boat carrying suspected migrants from Afghanistan and Syria sank yesterday off Istanbul's coast, leaving at least 22 people dead, authorities said. About a dozen people were believed to be missing, while six were rescued.

Coast guard vessels, divers, and passing fishing boats were scanning the waters just north of the Bosphorus Strait for more survivors. There were about 40 people on board the boat, the coast guard said. It was unclear what caused the vessel to sink or from where it had set sail.

The coast guard revised earlier figures of 24 dead and seven rescued.

The people on board were believed to be from Afghanistan and Syria, said Colonel Sakir Cicek of the Turkish military's general staff command in the capital, Ankara.

Emrecan Kolcu, one of the fishermen involved in the search and rescue operation, said he headed to the area when another fisherman radioed that he had seen a body in the sea.

"We saw dead bodies," Kolcu said. "It was not possible not to see them anyway. Everywhere was full of dead bodies. They had life vests on them."

The boat had issued a distress call early yesterday morning about three miles (five kilometres) north of the Bosphorus Strait in the Black Sea, authorities said.