19 dead as refugee boat capsizes in Black Sea

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Mehmet Unal, a local official in the nearby town of Kandira, said the boat was believed to be carrying 70 migrants, most of whom were Iraqis.

Four people drowned and up to 20 were missing on Friday after a fishing boat carrying migrants sunk off Turkey's Black Sea coast, reports said.

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The fishing vessel sank just before dawn off the coast of Kefken, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) east of Istanbul, the coast guard said. Coast guard boats and commercial ships were taking part in the search along with a helicopter and a plane. "As the migrants face a growing pressure on the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts to cross, their route has now changed to the Black Sea region", Bartın Police Chief Ogün Vural told reporters.

There was no information on the nationalities of the migrants or where they were heading to.

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Ambulances and medical teams, sent to the port of Kefken, carried out medical checks on the survivors who were later hospitalized. A pregnant woman miscarried during the tragedy, it added.

As the route to Europe became increasingly hard after Turkey shut down traffic to Europe in a deal with the European Union in 2016, many migrants and refugees have turned to the Black Sea where a new route has opened up.

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Some 834 migrants were caught and 10 smugglers detained in seven Black Sea incidents between mid-August and early September, according to statistics published by Anadolu.

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