Two people died after a boat carrying migrants sank just 50 meters off Turkey’s western coast near Bodrum early on Monday, the coast guard said, according to a report by Reuters.
Seventeen people on the boat were rescued and three made it to shore by themselves, the coast guard said. Two of those people later died at the hospital, it said. It did not specify the migrants’ nationalities.
Search and rescue activities are continuing for possible missing passengers, the coast guard said. The boat was headed to the Greek island of Kos, a HaberTürk daily’s report said.
In recent weeks, several incidents have become known in Turkey in which people seeking protection from different countries have lost their lives. On October 14, 22 people, including several children, died in a van in a traffic accident in İzmir.
On October 9, a boat with refugees sank off the coast of İzmir. Four bodies were recovered, 30 people are missing. At the end of September, five people seeking protection died in a shipwreck off the coast of İzmir, and about 30 people ended up missing.
Turkey became one of the main launch points for more than a million migrants taking the sea route to European Union (EU) territory in 2015, many fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
The influx of migrants was drastically curtailed by a 2016 accord between Ankara and the EU, after hundreds died crossing to Greek islands a few miles off the Turkish shore.
Mediterranean arrivals to the bloc, including refugees making the longer and more perilous crossing from North Africa to Italy, totaled 172,301 in 2017, down from 362,753 in 2016 and 1,015,078 in 2015, according to United Nations data.