UPDATES WITH DEATH TOLL; CHANGES HEADLINE, LEDE
By Huseyin Cem Liman and Selma Kasap
ANKARA/IZMIR, Turkey (AA) – Eight people died and one rescued as a boat carrying irregular migrants sank off Turkey’s Aegean coast of Izmir province, security sources said on Wednesday.
The boat carrying migrants, who were attempting to illegally cross into Greece, capsized off Izmir's Karaburun district, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media.
Sources later said the death toll increased to eight from four, as it was stated earlier by the same sources, as search and rescue for the remaining 26 migrants continue.
In accordance with the information provided by a migrant woman who was rescued, search and rescue efforts began in the area to find possible missing migrants.
In a statement, the Interior Ministry said an Iraqi woman with a rescue jacket and wet clothes came to local gendarmerie command seeking for help on Monday at 11.54 p.m. local time (2054GMT).
The initial testimony by the migrant woman claimed they sailed off at 8 p.m. local time (1700GMT) on Oct. 8 and that there were 35 people on the boat.
Upon her testimony, one coast guard corvette, two coast guard boats, one coast guard aircraft and one coast guard helicopter along with gendarmerie and security units dispatched search and rescue teams, the ministry said.
"Search and rescue activities are ongoing in efforts to find nearly 30 irregular migrants who are considered missing," the statement added.
Turkey has been a main route for irregular migrants trying to cross into Europe, especially since 2011, when the Syrian civil war began.