Migrant boat sinks off Turkey’s coast, killing at least 21 people

A rubber dinghy carrying migrants sank off Turkey’s northern Aegean coast on Friday, killing at least 21 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.

A statement from Aktas’ office later said five of the dead were children.

The migrants’ nationalities were not immediately known.

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, the state-run Anadolu Agency 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 in search of a better life in European countries. Some migrants leaving Turkey also attempt to sail to Italy.

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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