Despite a dip in numbers, people continue to try and reach Europe via the Mediterranean. So far this year 555 migrants have died attempting the crossing [File: Sahil Gu venlik/Anadolu]

Eight people have drowned after a boat carrying migrants and refugees sank off southwestern Turkey, according to the Turkish coastguard.

Thirty-one people were rescued from the boat, which sank off coast of the Bodrum district in Mugla province on Monday, the coastguard said.

Operations, carried out with two boats, a diving team and a helicopter from the coastguard, had found the bodies of eight people from the vessel, which was originally carrying 40 people.

In an earlier statement, the coastguard had said efforts were under way to reach nine people missing from the dinghy. 

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