24 'migrants' die in boat sinking off Istanbul

24 'migrants' die in boat sinking off Istanbul

At least 24 have died after a boat carrying suspected migrants from Afghanistan and Syria sank off the coast of Istanbul, Turkish authorities said today.

Coast guard vessels, divers and passing fishing boats were scanning the sea for more survivors. It was unclear how many people were on the boat.

The coast guard command’s press office said 24 bodies had been recovered, and seven people rescued. It was not immediately clear what caused the vessel to sink.

Colonel Sakir Cicek, of the Turkish military’s general staff command in the capital, Ankara, said the people on board were believed to be from Afghanistan and Syria. He said it was unclear where the vessel had set sail from.

The Istanbul governorship office said the boat had issued a distress call early this morning about three miles (5km) north of the Bosphorus Strait in the Black Sea.

Seven coast guard vessels, a team of divers, one helicopter, two police vessels and numerous fishing boats were assisting in the search-and-rescue operation.

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