Fifteen people drowned when a fishing boat carrying migrants sank off the Turkish coast in the Marmara Sea on Friday and up to 15 more were missing, Turkey's coast guard said. Their nationalities or where they were heading to was unknown. The rescue operation began at dawn, after a commercial ship received an alarm signal from a fishing boat carrying the migrants.
The boat sank off the northwestern province of Kocaeli shortly after calling for help, the coast guard said in a statement.
The Black Sea has become the new route for refugees trying to reach European countries as the Aegean Sea route has become hard for them to cross after Turkey and the European Union inked a deal last March on stemming the flow of migrants. In recent weeks the flow of migrants and refugees along the Black Sea route from Turkey to the coasts of Bulgari and Romania has increased.
Ambulances and medical teams, sent to the port of Kefken, carried out medical checks on the survivors who were later hospitalized.
The coast guard plane, a helicopter, three vessels as well as five commercial ships had joined the search and rescue effort, the coast guard said.