ANKARA, 5th January, 2016 (WAM) — At least eight people drowned off Turkey’s Aegean Sea coast when an inflatable boat carrying refugees sank early Tuesday.

The Turkish Coast Guard launched a search-and-rescue effort as the boat, packed with 22 refugees, capsized off the Altinova area of Balikesir’s Ayvalik district as it tried to reach Greek islands.

Ayvalik Governor, Namik Kemal Nazli, told the Anadolu Agency that 12 refugees were rescued, but the bodies of eight others had been recovered from the sea.

Two other people remain missing.

Nazli said the authorities thought the refugees were from Iraq, Syria and Algeria.