As work continues to identify victims, it is still unclear why a boat carrying migrants sank at the mouth of Istanbul’s Bosphorus strait, killing at least 24 people, with many others still missing.
Women and children were among the over 40 migrants packed onto the boat. Only 6 have been pulled out alive.
Local fishermen helped in rescue efforts which coastguard vessels and a helicopter have been continuing in the Black Sea, just north of the Bosphorus.
Bodies covered in blankets were laid on a jetty on the European side of the strait, a Reuters witness said.
“Two or three large fishermen’s boats found a few dead bodies,” one of the fishermen told euronews.
“They handed those bodies to coastguards. We were also searching. We found a few life jackets but no bodies.
“They say this boat was about 9 or 10 metres long. So, how did they fit 40 people inside? Whoever was in charge of the boat probably didn’t know about the harsh conditions of the Black Sea. If he did, he would not have come to this area.”
Mainly Afghans, the migrants are thought to have been heading to Romania. They reportedly paid 7,000 euros to make the journey.
Tens of thousands of people from the Middle East, Africa and beyond pack into often unsafe boats each year and thousands of them drown in their efforts to enter the European Union through coastal states.
Our correspondent Bora Bayraktar says: “The migrants’ voyage of hope ended in disaster, with the boat sinking off Istanbul. Amid the search and rescue operation, identification efforts are continuing on the bodies.”