Turkish captain of a small boat carrying 12 illegal immigrants from Bodrum, a popular vacation resort in southwestern Turkey, to Greece's Kalymnos Island in the Aegean Sea, has been killed after the boat sank off the Turkish coast around midnight on Friday.
Ten immigrants were rescued by Turkish Coast Guard, while the body of Turkish captain was recovered from the sea. Search and rescue crews continue to scour the area for two other migrants.
The incident was discovered after nine hours when a Turkish yacht stumbled across half-conscious immigrants off the coast and notified the Coast Guard. Rescued immigrants said 13 others were aboard. Coast Guard boats and helicopters combed the area and found Turkish captain's body.
The Aegean Sea is a hotbed for illegal immigration, The Coast Guard captured 12,872 illegal immigrants in 2014 in 524 cases as they were trying to cross into Greece via the country's islands located near Turkish territories by boarding small boats.
Undocumented immigrants from Middle Eastern and Asian countries increasingly head to Europe from Turkey via the Aegean Sea despite the ever-present risk of death in overcrowded dinghies.
In the first three months of 2015, teams rescued 1,497 immigrants and captured six smugglers in about 60 incidents in operations in the Aegean Sea.