7 Sep 2012

Migrant boat sinks off Turkey

6:06 am on 7 September 2012

Sixty people have died, more than half of them children, after their overcrowded boat sank just tens of metres off the western coast of Turkey.

The boat carrying illegal migrants sank less than 100 metres from shore.

Its destination was unclear but the small Turkish town of Ahmetbeyli from where it left is only a few kilometres from the Greek island of Samos.

Greece is a common entry point for migrants trying to get into the European Union.

The boat's passengers are believed to be mainly Palestinians.

District governor Tahsin Kurtbeyoglu said an initial investigation showed the small vessel sank due to overcrowding around dawn.

He said 31 children died, including three babies. So far 46 people had been rescued alive, including the ship's Turkish captain and assistant, who had been placed under arrest.