Turkey’s gendarmerie said it found the bodies of 21 migrants, three of them children, at two separate locations on the Aegean coast on Tuesday after their boat apparently capsized as they tried to reach the Greek island of Lesbos.
Eleven of the bodies were discovered on the shoreline in the district of Ayvalik, while ten others were found in the district of Dikili, a gendarmerie official in the local headquarters told Reuters.
A coast guard official said three boats and a helicopter were searching for any survivors. Rescuers were continuing to search the coastline and sea amid fears that the death toll could rise further, he said.
More than 500,000 refugees and migrants entered Greece through its outlying islands last year, travelling on to central and northern Europe as part of the biggest humanitarian crisis on the continent in two decades.
Lesbos, located less than 6 miles (10 km) from the coast of Turkey, has been a primary gateway for thousands of migrants crossing the European Union’s outermost border, many of them fleeing civil war in Syria.