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5 die as refugee boat sinks off Turkish coast

8 people were rescued when the boat sank near Maden Island.

Five refugees drowned off the coast of Turkey after their boat sank, a Turkish official said yesterday.

Speaking to the Anadolu Agency, Namik Kemal Nazli, the governor of the Ayvalik district of Balikesir province in western Turkey, said eight people were rescued when the boat sank near Maden Island. Thirteen people were thought to be on the vessel.

“Four children and a woman died and eight others were rescued. There is a three-year-old child among the rescued,” he said.

He added that the child was in a critical condition at Ayvalik State Hospital.

Over the past years, thousands have made the short but perilous journey across the Aegean Sea in a bid to reach Europe in search of a better life.

Of the 4,715 migrants and refugees who lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean, 429 migrants died in the Eastern Mediterranean route between Turkey and Greece, according to the latest report.

More than a million refugees and migrants travelled from Turkey to Greece last year before an EU-Turkey deal stemmed the flow in March.

The 18 March agreement allows for the return of “irregular migrants” to Turkey from Greece in exchange for Syrian refugees to be relocated within the EU.

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