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Migrant raft crashes into rocks and sinks off Turkish coast, killing 7

Rescuers recover a body at a beach near Cutro, southern Italy, after a migrant boat broke apart in rough seas, Sunday, Feb. 26, 2023.   -  
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Giuseppe Pipita/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

Migrant Crisis

A life raft carrying migrants crashed into rocks off Turkey’s Aegean coastal town of Cesme on Tuesday, killing seven people on board, the Turkish coastguard said.

One person was rescued from the sea by a fishing boat which then alerted the coast guard. Eighteen others, including children, were rescued from the small island of Karaada near Cesme.

Search and rescue efforts were continuing for one missing person, the coast guard said in a statement.

The coast guard said the survivors told them they were put in a life raft and left to drift by Greek authorities at a location close to Turkish territorial waters. It said the raft then struck rocks and sank.

Turkey regularly accuses Greece of engaging in “pushbacks,” or summary deportations of migrants without access to asylum procedures required by international law. Greece denies sending newly arrived migrants back to Turkey.

Greece serves as a major entry point for migrants seeking a better life in the European Union, most entering illegally from Turkey aboard precarious boats supplied by traffickers.

A video shared by Turkish Interior Minister Ali Yerlikaya on the social media platform X showed a coast guard boat rescuing migrants, including children, from the island.

The rescued migrants were in good health, according to the coast guard statement.