Eight migrants drown as boat sinks near Turkey's coast

Eight people, including three women, have drowned after a boat carrying migrants sank off Turkey's Aegean coast, Turkey's Ministry of Interior has said.

A ministry statement on Friday said a rubber boat with about 15 people on board sank late on Thursday off the coast of Fethiye, in Turkey's southwest.

The coastguard dispatched three boats, a team of divers, a plane and a helicopter to the area as soon as it received word of the incident.

A search-and-rescue mission continued for seven migrants thought to be missing.

There was no information on the nationalities of the migrants who were on the boat.

On December 26, seven people died and 64 were rescued when a boat carrying refugees and migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan sank in eastern Turkey's Lake Van, the governor's office in Bitlis province said.

Turkey is a main crossing point for migrants trying to make their way to Europe to escape violent conflicts or economic hardship.

A deal between Turkey and the European Union in 2016 helped stem migration flows, but many asylum-seekers still attempt the dangerous trip across the Aegean Sea to Greek islands.

Authorities in both Athens and Ankara have reported an increase in migrant arrivals since the summer.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera