Europe

Eighteen migrants drown as boat capsizes off Turkey

Migrants on a boat that reached Lesbos on 17 November 2015 Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Boats carrying migrants and refugees from Turkey continue to try to reach Greece

Several children are among at least 18 people who drowned when their boat capsized trying to cross from Turkey to Greece, officials say.

The wood boat capsized in high waves as it tried to cross from Turkey's Izmir province to the Greek island of Lesbos. Twenty-one people were rescued.

At least 24 people have died in two similar sinkings this week.

More than one million migrants and refugees crossed into Europe by sea and land this year, new figures show.

In the German region of Bavaria, fires broke out at two hostels housing refugees overnight, including 12 people. Arson is suspected.

The overcrowded boat was about two miles off the Turkish coast en route to Lesbos when it ran into trouble, Turkey's private Dogan news agency reports.

Coastguards managed to rescue 21 people, including a baby, but were unable to save 18 people, including at least six children.

At least one person is still reported missing.

Divers were called to the scene amid reports that some migrants were stuck in the cabin of the sinking boat, Dogan reports.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said earlier this week that the number of migrants and refugees crossing illegally into Europe by sea and land in 2015 represented a fourfold rise on last year's total.

Nearly 3,700 of those did not survive the journey, the IOM said.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries such as Syria, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.