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Reports: Migrant Boat Sinks Off Turkish Coast, 17 Dead

  • VOA News

People upload coffins with the bodies of migrants who were drowned while they were trying to cross on a boat to the nearby Greek island of Kos, in the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, Sept. 27, 2015.

People upload coffins with the bodies of migrants who were drowned while they were trying to cross on a boat to the nearby Greek island of Kos, in the coastal town of Bodrum, Turkey, Sept. 27, 2015.

Seventeen Syrian migrants drowned Sunday when their boat sank off the Turkish coast while headed for the Greek island of Leros.

Local media said another 20 people, who were wearing life jackets, survived.

Turkey's coast guard has recovered the bodies and took survivors to identify their drowned relatives at a morgue in Bodrum.

The 8-meter vessel sank soon after leaving the coast. Those who drowned Sunday were trapped in the boat's cabin as it sank, Turkey's Dogan news agency reported.

Investigation

Governor Amir Cicek of Mugla province said no one was missing or unaccounted for and that Turkey had launched an investigation into the incident.

Bodrum, a popular tourist destination, has become a key jumping off point for migrants and refugees seeking to reach Europe.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 migrants and refugees crossed into Croatia from Serbia Sunday, continuing their journey to western Europe. Many were wearing thin plastic raincoats as they walked through the muddy border crossing with weather conditions worsening.

Migrants walk towards Serbia's border with Croatia in Berkasovo, Serbia, Sept. 27, 2015.

Migrants walk towards Serbia's border with Croatia in Berkasovo, Serbia, Sept. 27, 2015.

Croatia is sending migrants across its own border with Hungary – which in turn sends them to Austria – but is struggling to keep pace with the influx.

Zagreb said it can only control a flow of up to 5,000 people a day. Over 60,000 migrants, many escaping Syria's bloody civil war, have crossed into Croatia from Serbia in the past week.

Unprecedented influx

The influx, described by authorities as unprecedented, came as Croatia lifted its border blockade with Serbia, ending a weeklong standoff that had severely strained relations between the two Balkan countries.

It also came days after an emergency European Union summit convened to address the largest migration on the continent since the end of World War Two.

Germany alone is expecting to receive up to 1 million migrants by the end of the year.

German authorities said 200,000 asylum requests have been received in the first half of this year, with 40 percent of them filed by people from Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Serbia who are fleeing unemployment and poverty in hopes of a better life elsewhere.

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