A boat carrying illegal immigrants capsized off the western coast of Turkey, according to Turkish officials on Thursday. The vessel reportedly capsized after hitting rocks off the Aegean coast.
The official death toll rose to 58 on Thursday afternoon as Turkish officials continued to recover bodies. An official told Reuters that more than half of those found dead were children.
The refugees on board had come to an agreement with smugglers in the city of Izmir who were to take them to Britain. Turkish state television reported that authorities had arrested two smugglers related to the operation.
A total of 51 survivors managed to swim to the shore, which was 50 metres away from where the boat capsized. The passengers were predominantly from Palestine, Syria and Iraq.
Refugees continue to flee unrest in Syria in large numbers, pouring into neighbouring countries. Turkey often serves as a springboard for African and Arab refugees seeking to move on to other European nations.
According to the latest figures from United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), roughly 80,410 Syrian refugees have fled to Turkey, who has closed its borders to Syrians without passports, claiming that all of its refugee camps are currently full.