Yaşar Anter / Muğla, Sep 28 () - Seventeen Syrian refugees, including five children, drowned Sept. 27 when their boat sank in Turkish waters on its way to Greece.
The Turkish coastguard recovered the bodies from a wooden boat that had set off from the Turkish holiday resort town of Bodrum for the Greek island of Leros.
The refugees drowned when they failed to get out of the boat’s cabin, the news agency said. Another 20 migrants, who were on the boat’s deck, survived and swam back to the Turkish coast. All were wearing life jackets.
The survivors were taken to a morgue in Bodrum to identify their drowned relatives.
Muğla governor Amir Çiçek said the vessel sank off the Turkish island of Çavuşadası, which lies around 3 kilometers west of the mainland, in the early hours of Sept. 27 as it headed for Kos.
“37 people were on board the 8-meter vessel. Our teams rescued 20 of them, while they found 17 bodies” he added. An investigation has been launched.
The Turkish Coast Guard intercepted two boats carrying 31 Syrian and Afghan refugees heading to Kos, which is around 5 kilometers from Turkey on Sept. 26. Ten Syrians were pulled from the sea as they tried to swim back to Turkey.
Two weeks ago, 15 refugees drowned in Bodrum’s bay when their boat, a 15-meter day-trip vessel, sank.
According to the International Organization for Migration, 505,693 refugees have arrived in Europe by sea this year, most arriving in Greece. There have been 227 deaths in the Aegean Sea, the group said.
There has been a sharp spike in the numbers of migrants and refugees setting out from Turkey in flimsy boats for the European Union in search of better lives.
Most are fleeing conflicts in Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Africa.
The picture of three-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi, whose body was found washed up on a Turkish beach after a failed attempt to reach Greece, horrified the world, pressuring European leaders to step up their response to the refugee crisis.