Turkey: Death Toll in Refugee Boat Sinking hits 39

By: AP Email
By: AP Email

ISTANBUL (AP) - Officials say the death toll in the sinking of a boat carrying illegal immigrants off the coast of Turkey has risen to 39 and is expected to increase further.

TRT television earlier quoted Tahsin Kurtbeyoglu, a local administrator, as saying 20 bodies were recovered from the fishing boat carrying about 100 people, but officials later raised the toll.

Dozens of survivors, mostly from Iraq and Syria, were able to swim through the Aegean waters to shore, only 50 meters (160 feet) away.

The survivors say people had been trapped below the deck of the submerged vessel and many on board were women and children. The group had previously made their way to hotels in the city of Izmir, where smugglers agreed to take them to Britain.

TRT report that authorities arrested two Turkish suspects in the smuggling operation.

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