17 drowned migrants found on Turkish beach

2016-01-05 14:34
A volunteer gestures to migrants aboard a dinghy as they approach a beach after crossing a part of the Aegean sea. (Santi Palacios, AP)

A volunteer gestures to migrants aboard a dinghy as they approach a beach after crossing a part of the Aegean sea. (Santi Palacios, AP)

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Istanbul - Turkish authorities on Tuesday found the bodies of 17 migrants, including several children, washed up on a beach after their boat sank while crossing the Aegean Sea to EU member Greece, Dogan news agency reported.

Eight of 22 migrants seeking to reach the Greek island of Lesbos were rescued by the Turkish coastguard while efforts were underway to locate the remaining five.

The bodies were found on a beach near the resort of Ayvalik in southwest Turkey after the migrants' boat ran into trouble in bad weather after leaving the neighbouring resort of Dikili.

Images published by Dogan showed the bodies of children, fully dressed and wearing shoes, lying on the beach with their life-jackets still on.

Video footage showed Turkish security forces lifting other bodies from the waves in the shallows.

The tragedy is the latest involving migrants fleeing war and misery in the hope of finding a new life in Europe.

The images of the small lifeless bodies on the sand echo those of three-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, the pictures of whose body lying face down on a Turkish beach in September 2015 spurred Europe into greater action on the migrant crisis.

There were no details on the nationality of the migrants or precisely how many children were among the dead.

Turkey, which is home to about 2.2 million refugees from Syria's civil war, has become a hub for migrants seeking to move to Europe, many of whom pay people smugglers thousands of dollars for the risky crossing.

The UN refugee agency and the International Organisation for Migration have said more than one million migrants and refugees reached Europe in 2015, most of them by sea.

The vast majority - over 800 000 - landed in Greece, according to the figures.

The onset of winter and rougher sea conditions do not appear to have deterred the migrants, with boats still arriving on the Greek islands daily.

Read more on:    turkey  |  greece  |  drownings  |  migrants

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