Embassy: Around 12 Palestinians survived Turkey boat disaster

Maan News Agency | Sept 7, 2012

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Around a dozen Palestinians survived the sinking of a boat off the Turkish coast on Thursday, but it was not clear how many were among the casualties, the Palestinian embassy in Turkey said Friday.

Over 60 migrants, more than half of them children, died after their overcrowded boat sank just tens of meters off Turkey’s western Aegean coast.

“The total death toll is 61, including 12 men, 18 women, 28 children and three babies,” the governor’s office in Izmir said in a statement.

Turkish media said the reason the death toll was so high was because the women and children were in a locked compartment in the lower section of the vessel, although there was no official confirmation of this.

Of the 46 people rescued alive, the Palestinian embassy said between 12 and 14 are Palestinian.

The office said it was still working with Turkish authorities to try and identify the bodies.

The boat was also carrying Syrians and Iraqis refugees, officials said. The ship’s Turkish captain and assistant have been placed under arrest.

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