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Turkey: Raft crash on Aegean coast kills at least 7 migrants

July 9, 2024

Smugglers frequently risk lives trying to get migrants from Turkey to Greece, an EU member state. Nineteen people were saved by the Turkish coast guard after a raft carrying migrants hit rocks off the Turkish coast.

Migrants on a ship off the Libyan coast
During the summer months, more migrants frequently try to make the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean to EuropeImage: picture-alliance/AP/Libyan Coast Guard

A life raft carrying migrants on the Aegean Sea crashed Tuesday into rocks near Cesme, a town on Turkey's Aegean coast.

So far, at least seven people on board have died, the Turkish coast guard said.

Nineteen people, including children, were rescued off Turkey' Izmir Province while a search for one missing is under way, Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya said on social media platform X. 

Rescue operations underway

One helicopter, four coastguard vessels and a diving team were involved in the search and rescue operation, he added.

A life raft carrying the migrants was pushed back earlier by Greek coastguard towards Turkish waters, the Turkish coast guard claimed, citing some of the rescued migrants.

Coast guard and local fisherman rescue several

Earlier on Tuesday, the coast guard received reports of migrants on a small Turkish island off the coast near Izmir, the coast guard said on its website.

A fisherman rescued one person from the sea, suspecting others were still in the water. The coast guard saved 18 others from the island, but one person remains missing.

Smugglers risk migrant lives on a daily basis

Along Turkey's Aegean coastline, smugglers frequently attempt to bring people from Turkey to Greece, which is an EU member.

The Turkish coast guard reports intercepting boats carrying migrants almost daily, especially during the summer months.

sp/wd (AFP; AP, dpa)