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Scores die as refugee boat sinks off Turkey

At least 60 refugees have drowned after their boat sank close to the coast of Turkey. About half of the dead appear to be children.

Turkish state news agency Anatolia reported on Thursday that 28 children and 18 women were among dozens of refugees who drowned when their boat capsized in waters off western Turkey.

Officials said that dozens of survivors, mostly from Iraq and Syria, had swum to shore, only 50 meters (165 feet) away from the boat.

Watch video 01:11

Children drown as migrant boat sinks

Turkish police said survivors reported that they had been promised by traffickers that they would be given passage to the EU, with Britain being the final destination.

More than 100 people had been on board the 15-meter boat, with survivors saying dozens had been trapped below deck when it sunk. The captain of the boat and a sailor were reported to have been arrested.

Boats are often organized by gangs demanding thousands of euros for passage. Two large accidents took place off the coast of North Africa last year, in each of which more than 200 people drowned.

rc, ccp / mkg, ipj (dpa, AP Reuters)

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