March 13

Five people drown off Turkey’s southwestern coast

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Five people have drowned in the Aegean Sea off Turkey’s southwestern coast after setting out on a rubber dinghy, apparently towards Greece, according to the Turkish coastguard.

The incident took place early on Saturday off the town of Didim, in waters of the Turkish province of Aydin, the coastguard said.

In a video released by the Turkish coastguard, refugees and migrants on board a grey inflatable dinghy are seen waving as they are buffeted by rough seas.

“Eleven migrants [10 adults, one child] were rescued… and the bodies of five were found,” the coastguard said in a statement on Saturday.

Five surviving refugees managed to reach the Greek island of Farmakonisi, 10km (six miles) from the Turkish coast in the province of Ayrdin, the Greek coastguard said.

According to a witness account by the Greek coastguard, 31 people were on board the boat when it departed.

Deaths in the Aegean happen often, with refugees and migrants boarding makeshift boats even on stormy seas trying to make it to Europe.

A woman and four children died in the same area at the beginning of February after their inflatable boat sank.

Since 2014, 2,269 people have drowned in the eastern Mediterranean, according to the International Organization for Migration.

Further west in the Mediterranean, more than 1,300 have been rescued in three separate operations off the southern tip of Italy, the Italian coastguard said on Saturday, two weeks after at least 74 people died when their boat hit rocks near the coast.

Ten adults and one child rescued off the coast of Aydin provinces, authorities say.

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