Turkey’s interior minister says search and rescue teams have reached a boat they believe was carrying as many as 60 immigrants when it sank in a lake in the eastern part of the country.
Authorities had launched a search-and-rescue mission involving helicopters and boats after the vessel carrying migrants across Lake Van was reported missing on June 27.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told reporters Wednesday the rescue teams have recovered six bodies so far. Soylu said he had traveled to Lake Van to oversee the rescue operation, and that it was believed the boat was carrying between 55 and 60 migrants when it went down in stormy weather.
Soylu said that the boat was believed to have sunk at a depth of between 110 and 120 meters. He said its exact location has not been determined. Soylu said 11 other people have been detained in connection with the sinking and a village administrator has been removed from office for delayed reporting of the incident.
Lake Van shares a border with Iran, and migrants are often found attempting to cross the body of water. HaberTurk television said the migrants are believed to be from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.