ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkish search-and-rescue teams on Wednesday located the wreck of a boat that was reported missing in a lake in eastern Turkey with up to 60 migrants on board, officials said.
The boat was reported missing in Lake Van in stormy weather on June 27. Authorities estimated the boat was carrying between 55 and 60 migrants when it went down. A total of 13 bodies have been found so far.
On Wednesday, search teams using underwater imaging devices, located the wreck 106.5 meters (350 feet) deep inside the lake, the regional governor’s office said, adding that an effort was underway to recover the wreckage and bodies that may be inside.
The lake is close to the border with Iran but lies within Turkey’s borders. Authorities believe that smugglers are transporting migrants across the lake to avoid several police and military checkpoints in place on the traditional transit routes used to smuggle migrants that cross into Turkey from Iran.
Turkey, which hosts about 3.7 million Syrian refugees, is a main crossing point for migrants trying to reach Europe.
Authorities have detained five people in connection with the tragedy and have removed a local administrator from office.
Media reports say the migrants are believed to be from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.