Migrant boat capsizes off Turkish coast killing 24 people

3 November 2014 (Last Updated November 3rd, 2014 18:30)

Around 24 migrants have died as a boat carrying 42 people capsized north of the Bosphorus Strait off the coast of Turkey.

Around 24 migrants have died as a boat carrying 42 people capsized north of the Bosphorus Strait off the coast of Turkey.

Citing the Turkish Coastguard Command, Reuters reported that rescuers pulled 24 bodies from the water and rescued seven people.

The boat was carrying 42 Afghan illegal migrants, including 12 children and seven women and it was believed to have been moving towards Bulgaria or Romania, the Hurriyet Daily News reported.

"This is not a crisis of a so-called ‘excess’ of migrants overburdening the continent, but an emergency of more people needing protection." 

One of the rescuers, Ali Saruhan, was quoted as saying: "The wind is making our task very difficult.

"The boat is a very small one. But they were carrying 40 people in it. We are seeing bodies of children floating in the sea."

Migration to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea has increased since 2011 due to various reasons, including the political unrest in African and Middle East countries.

According to the latest report by International Organization for Migration (IOM), an estimated 3,200 migrants have perished attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year, many of them victims of criminal gangs.

IOM director general William Lacy Swing said: "This is not a crisis of a so-called ‘excess’ of migrants overburdening the continent, but an emergency of more people needing protection, aid and safe migration channels, especially for those not covered by existing protection systems."