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Hope fades for Turkish boat migrants
Turkish authorities have lost hope of finding any survivors from a boat which sank off the country's coast, with 69 would-be migrants on board.
Last Modified: 22 Dec 2003 14:00 GMT
Turkey sits astride a favourite smuggling route to the West
Turkish authorities have lost hope of finding any survivors from a boat which sank off the country's coast, with 69 would-be migrants on board.

"The search is continuing by sea and air, with the aid of a helicopter, in Turkish territorial waters," a local official in the southwestern town of Marmaris, near where the boat disappeared, said.

A sole survivor, a 37-year-old Iraqi man, was picked up by a Turkish boat off Marmaris late on Saturday.

The estimate of the number of people aboard the vessel was believed to have come from him. Most were from Jordan, Iraq and Afghanistan, he was quoted as saying.

The crew had abandoned the vessel off the coast, using a launch that they had towed behind the boat to head for the Turkish coast, the official said.

The boat was then believed to have capsized in bad weather.

He also said the sole survivor appeared before a court in Marmaris late on Sunday, which ordered that he be expelled.

Meanwhile, Greek authorities said that they had found seven bodies floating off the Turkish coast, and it was believed they could be from the missing boat.

Turkish authorities said they had found 13 lifejackets and a fragment of a boat, but no bodies so far.

The vessel was believed to have gone down nine nautical miles off the Turkish coast.

Source:
AFP
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