At least 19 migrants have died and 30 are missing after a boat carrying about 160 people sank off the coast of northern Cyprus.
More than 100 have been rescued by Turkish and Cypriot coast guards helped by commercial boats in the area, 30 miles off the Karpas peninsula of Cyprus.
A Panama-flagged commercial ship spotted the migrant boat some 25 nautical miles from Turkey’s southern province of Antalya and alerted the coast guard on Wednesday morning, the statement said.
Pictures have emerged showing coastguard vessels and helicopters during the search operation.
At least 19 migrants have been killed and 30 are missing after a boat carrying about 160 refugees sank off the coast of northern Cyprus. Pictures show a coast guard ship during the search operation today
More than 100 have been rescued by Turkish and Cypriot coast guards helped by commercial boats in the area. A helicopter hovers over the sea as coast guards search for survivors
The vessel had been detected by radar on Tuesday night but sank early on Wednesday morning, according to Turkish media. Rescuers are pictured racing to the scene
A Turkish Cypriot official said 19 people had drowned and 105 have been rescued from a boat that capsized.
The official said one seriously injured person was being treated in a hospital on Cyprus. Survivors were airlifted by Turkish helicopters to Mersin, Turkey.
The official said authorities believe that an estimated 147-150 people were aboard the boat.
Turkey’s DHA news agency said that the refugees were Syrians seeking to go to Europe but this had yet to be confirmed.
Cyprus, some 100 miles from Syria’s coast, has not seen the massive inflow of migrants experienced by Turkey, Greece and Italy although asylum applications have risen sharply.
The island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded and occupied the northern third of the island in response to a Greek military junta-sponsored coup.
In 2015, Turkey became one of the main launch points for the dangerous sea leg for more than a million migrants seeking to reach the European Union, many fleeing conflict and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.
The official said authorities believe that an estimated 147-150 people were aboard the boat
The official said one seriously injured person was being treated in a hospital on Cyprus. Survivors were airlifted by Turkish helicopters to Mersin, Turkey
A 2016 deal between Turkey and the European Union sharply reduced the flow of refugees into the bloc, after thousands died crossing from Turkey to Greek islands a few miles offshore.
From January to May this year at least 26 migrants died trying to cross to Europe from Turkey, according to coast guard statistics.
Mediterranean arrivals to the bloc, including refugees making the longer and more perilous crossing from north Africa to Italy, stood at 172,301 in 2017, down from 362,753 in 2016 and 1,015,078 in 2015, according to data from the United Nations.