Up to 60 migrants feared dead in eastern Turkey lake after boat sinks: report

Coastguard

Up to 60 migrants may have been trapped in a boat that sank in a lake in eastern Turkey last week, The Associated Press reported, citing the country’s interior minister.

Turkey initiated a search-and-rescue operation after the boat carrying migrants across Lake Van was reported missing on June 27. So far, six bodies have been recovered.

Commenting on the incident, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu said on Wednesday that authorities estimated the boat was carrying between 55 and 60 migrants when it went down in stormy weather.

Eleven other people were detained in connection with the tragedy, while a village administrator has been removed from office for delaying reporting the incident, Soylu said.

An underwater imaging system was dispatched from Ankara to locate the wreck, which is believed to be under 110-120 meters (360-394 feet) of water.

Habertürk TV reported the migrants are believed to be from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

The lake became a major transit route for migrants coming from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia after Turkey heightened immigration controls near the Iranian border, with some smugglers transporting migrants across Lake Van to avoid police and military checkpoints.

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