Six people including children drowned when a boat carrying migrants from Lebanon bound for Italy sunk off the coast of southwestern Turkey, the Turkish the Coast Guard said Tuesday evening.
In a statement, the Coast Guard said a total of 73 migrants from four lifeboats were rescued on Tuesday while search and rescue operations for the five missing continued with two lifeboats and a helicopter.
A wife, three children and two babies deceasedthe press release also states.
The Turkish Coast Guard did not reveal the nationality of the migrants.
The migrants initially left Lebanon on Saturday for Italy but had to refuel off the coast of Greeceof the island of Rhodes, the coast guard said, according to at rescued migrants.
The Turkish Coast Guard said that greek coast guard, who replied to migrants’ call for help, put their in four lifeboats and left them near Turkish territorial waters.
The The Greek Coast Guard denied the incident in a statement.
“The Hellenic Coastguard categorically denies the announcement by the Turkish Coastguard referring to alleged involvement in an alleged pushback incident”, Greecesaid the coast guard.
According to data from the Turkish Coast Guard website, more than 30,000 irregular migrants have been caught so far this year, more than double the number recorded in the same period last year.