Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Human Trafficking: 51+ dead off Turkey

As reported here:
A boat carrying around 70 illegal immigrants, who were trying to make their way to Greece, sank off Turkey's Aegean coast resulting in the death of 51 people thus far while six have been rescued, the Doğan news agency reported yesterday.

The boat is believed to have capsized in rough weather off the coast of Seferihisar, a southern district of İzmir, local Governor Orhan Sefik Güldibi said. Six of the immigrants were rescued early Monday morning. The rescued immigrants were hospitalized. The coast guard launched a sea- and land search, but its efforts were hampered by inclement weather conditions.

According to statements of three rescued Palestinians, Yusuf İnad, Ahmet Muhammed Hasan and Amin Şahacgo, there were around 70 immigrants on the 15-meter long boat. "The survivors said there were between 60 and 70 people on board. We are afraid that the death toll will rise," Güldibi said.
The captain of the boat that sank in the Aegean on Saturday left its passengers to die, Sabah's top story said yesterday. The boat carrying would-be illegal migrants to the nearby Greek island of Samos, according to accounts of the few survivors, handed the helm to the immigrants and told them to keep a straight heading, promising they would reach Samos in two hours. He later jumped ship. The survivors said his name was "Captain Ali," although the police have so far failed to identify him. The immigrants panicked after the captain left and the boat capsized due to the strong southern wind. İzmir police had warned the gendarmerie in Seferihisar, the district the boat departed from, that human smugglers would be active in coming days, Sabah wrote.

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