Children among 33 migrants dead after boat sinks off Turkish coast

Story highlights

  • The bodies of 5 children are recovered off the Turkish coastal town of Ayvacik, Anadolu reports
  • The migrants on the capsized ship were from Myanmar, Afghanistan and Syria
  • They are among scores of migrant deaths this month in the Mediterranean Sea

Lesbos, Greece (CNN)Another day, another group of migrants lost in the Mediterranean Sea -- forever.

This time, at least 33 migrants died after their boat capsized in the Aegean Sea, Turkey's semiofficial news agency reported Saturday, citing Turkish authorities. Like so many other refugee-packed vessels in recent months, this one was heading to Greece, a major destination for those trying to escape war and poverty and get into Europe.
    Some of those boats make it, but not this one.
    At least five of those whose bodies were recovered off Ayvacik, a town on the Turkish coast, were children, according to the Anadolu report.
    Authorities managed to save 75 people on the same boat, which contained people from Myanmar, Afghanistan and Syria.
    That wasn't the only such recent rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean: The Italian Coast Guard reported it had saved 216 people stuck in two dinghies.
    Those migrants killed off Ayvacik, Turkey, are on top of the 244 reported dead or missing in January by the International Organization for Migration.
    "Deaths on this route are increasing at an alarming rate," IOM spokesman Joel Millman told reporters then.
    The same group said then that more than 55,500 migrants managed successfully to cross the Mediterranean into Europe in the year's first 28 days. The influx -- with more than 1 million migrants coming into Europe last year -- has put policymakers on the spot, with some countries opening their doors while others come down hard to keep them out.
    While some migrants debark from North Africa, a vast majority set off from points east like Turkey, which borders war-ravaged Syria.
    The distance from there to Turkey to Greece, across the Aegean, isn't incredibly long, but it can be incredibly dangerous -- especially when so many people cram onto small, rickety boats that have no business at sea.
    That's what happened earlier this week when 10 children were among 26 killed when their boat capsized, a sinking that authorities learned about only after a survivor somehow made it to Kokkari, on the north coast of Greece's Samos island, the IOM reported. That vessel had been full of Kurds from Iraq.
      Millman, from that advocacy group, blamed the human smugglers whom desperate people resort to in order to escape dire straits in their homelands.
      He said, "[These deaths are] happening because of increased ruthlessness of gangs involved in shipping migrants."