At Least 58 Dead As Migrant Vessel Sinks Off Turkey

By MarEx 2012-09-06 10:10:29

A boat filled with illegal migrants sunk this morning off Turkey’s western Aegean coast after hitting some rocks. At least 58 passengers have been reported dead, and scores of others are missing.

A Turkish television station, TRT, confirmed the sinking that took place around dawn, just about 50 meters from the country’s coast. Small boats came to the rescue, searching for survivors close to the shore. Authorities initially reported as few as 24 of the 104 passengers aboard the ship had died, but revised the number to 58 after divers searched the ship's cargo hold and found more victims, says CNN.

Local news reports claim that most of those on the boat were Palestinian nationals and that the destination of the boat was unknown.

At least 46 people have been saved, including the vessel’s captain and his assistant. Both have been arrested. The rest of the rescued survivors are in good health, reports Reuters.

Turkey serves as a bridge from Asia to Europe and is considered a wealthy country compared with surrounding areas. These factors contribute to its growing population of refugees from places including sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.