Turkey: Boat Carrying Suspected Afghan, Syrian Migrants Sinks; 24 Dead

Turkish authorities say seven rescued.

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Rescuers retrieve a boat that sank off the Black Sea village of Garipce near Istanbul, November 3, 2014.Credit: Reuters

A boat carrying suspected migrants from Afghanistan and Syria sank Monday just north of the Bosphorus Strait off the coast of Istanbul, leaving at least 24 people dead. Seven people were rescued, Turkish authorities said.

Coast guard vessels, divers and passing fishing boats were scanning the waters for more survivors. It was unclear how many people had been on the boat.

The coast guard command's press office said 24 bodies had been recovered, and seven people had been rescued. It was not immediately clear what caused the vessel to sink.

Colonel Sakir Cicek, of the Turkish military's general staff command in the capital Ankara, said the people on board were believed to be from Afghanistan and Syria. He said it was unclear where the vessel had set sail from.

The Istanbul governorship office said the boat had issued a distress call early Monday morning about 5 kilometers (3 miles) north of the Bosphorus Strait in the Black Sea.

Seven coast guard vessels, a team of divers, one helicopter, two police vessels and numerous fishing boats were assisting in the search-and-rescue operation.