Turkish coastguard rescues 44 people stuck on island

Turkey’s coastguard has rescued 44 people stuck on an island after they attempted the crossing to Greece.

The coastguard said in a statement that it dispatched two helicopters and one boat following a rescue request call by someone on the island. Aerial footage showed groups of people on an island off the coast of the western province of Balıkesir.

Videos showed coastguard officers helping women and children to board its ship. The statement did not specify the nationalities of the people but said they included 13 children.

Hundreds of thousands of people have set out from Turkey’s coasts in the past few years to try to reach neighbouring Greece, which is a member of the European Union. A deal with the EU in 2016 to send those migrants back to Turkey significantly curbed the number of border crossings but many desperate migrants still attempt the journey.

The Turkish coastguard has intercepted more than 23,500 people this year.