Turkish coast guard rescues 44 migrants stuck on island

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s coast guard said Monday it rescued 44 migrants stuck on an island after they attempted the crossing to Greece.

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

Videos showed coast guard officers aiding women and children to board its ship. The statement did not specify the nationalities of the migrants but said they included 13 children.

Hundreds of thousands of migrants have set out from Turkey’s coasts in the past few years to try to reach neighboring 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 coast guard has intercepted more than 23,500 people this year.

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