Turkey speedboat sinks, Nine refugees, including six children heading to Europe in a speedboat drowned and one went missing Sunday when the vessel sank off Turkey’s Mediterranean coast.
The Turkish Coast Guard was informed at 2:22 a.m. local time that the boat appeared to be in danger or likely sank while traveling 2.5 nautical miles southeast of the Kekova Geyikova island near the Demre district of Turkey’s Mediterranean Antalya province.
The Turkish Coast Guard immediately dispatched a corvette, 4 boats, an airplane and a helicopter to the scene.
The search and rescue teams saved three men and a woman, while a nearby fishing vessel reportedly rescued another man.
The coast guard later found the bodies of six children, two men and a woman. One missing person is still being searched.
In March 2016, Turkey and the EU signed a deal which aimed to discourage irregular migration through the Aegean Sea by taking stricter measures against human traffickers and improving the conditions of some 3 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.
Since then, the number of refugees detained crossing the Aegean Sea between Turkey and Greece has fallen 85 percent, according to the Turkish Coast Guard.
Nearly 2,000 people are believed to have drowned trying to cross the Mediterranean in 2017 according to the U.N.
Turkey is a popular route for many illegal immigrants from Middle Eastern and Asian countries. Hundreds of migrants smuggled into the country are captured every year near the borders in western Turkey, or its Aegean provinces.