7 held for migrant tragedy

Turkish authorities have arrested seven men over last week’s sinking of a migrant-smuggling ship in the Aegean in which over 50 people are believed to have drowned, reports said on Thursday. The Turkish and Afghan suspects include Mesut Gerdan, 29, expelled from the local coast guard for involvement in people trafficking, who allegedly captained the vessel before abandoning it last Friday in Turkish waters en route for Rhodes. Police are seeking three more suspects. Fifty-three illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Tunisia and Turkey, among them a woman and a girl aged 13, were aboard the packed ship that had set off from the Turkish port of Marmaris, according to Huseyin Aksoy, a local provincial governor. The ship capsized shortly after Gerdan, who was at the wheel, and his Iranian accomplice abandoned the vessel on a speedboat, leaving another Iranian in charge, Aksoy said. Only one person, a young Iranian man, survived the accident by clinging to a piece of wood for hours before he was picked up by a ferry the following day. Ten bodies have been found.