Six dead as immigrant boat sinks off Turkey

Six people, including a child, has drowned after a boat carrying illegal immigrants trying to reach Greece capsized off western Turkey, according to officials and reports.

AFP| Updated: Nov 30, 2013, 10:10 AM IST

Istanbul: Six people, including a child, has drowned after a boat carrying illegal immigrants trying to reach Greece capsized off western Turkey, according to officials and reports.

The sinking is the latest fatal tragedy in European waters that has sparked calls for action over the vast tide of illegal immigration from the Middle East and Africa.

"Acting on a tip-off at 0600 IST the coastguard seized the boat and recovered five bodies," Turkish coastguard official Arslan Dede told a news agency.

Another body was recovered later yesterday, Turkish media said.

Eight people were rescued and taken to a nearby hospital after the sinking in the Aegean Sea, Dede said.

The nationalities of those on the boat were not immediately known but media reports said they were believed to be Syrians.

Turkey, which hosts about 600,000 Syrians who have fled the civil war in their country, has become a hub for illegal immigrants who aspire to reach Europe in the search for a better life.

But the journey across the Mediterranean is frequently perilous, and hundreds of immigrants, mainly Africans, drowned en route for Europe in October alone.

The International Organisation for Migration voiced its concern yesterday over migrant deaths, saying a spate of fatal sinkings was a "wakeup call" for the international community to act.

"We must take urgent measures to ensure that these tragedies become a thing of the past," IOM director general William Lacy Swing said in a statement.