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ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police were searching on Friday for a Turkish woman and her three children missing after a boat carrying nine people capsized in the Evros river separating Greece from Turkey, police said.

Police rescued four men aged between 24 and 40 and one child, a police official said, after being informed of the incident in northern Greece early on Thursday.

"According to their statements, they had boarded a boat aiming to reach Greece from Turkey," a police spokeswoman said.

"They said that their boat crashed on a rock, a tree or something else during their transfer and it capsized. Since that moment a woman and her three children are missing," she added.

The old smugglers' route across the river border between the two countries is increasingly used by refugees fleeing war in Syria and elsewhere. Turks have also used the route in recent years following a failed coup attempt against Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in 2016.

It can take five to six minutes to paddle across the Evros river, whose fast-moving waters are treacherous.

The police spokeswoman said the rescued men and the child were taken to a reception-and-identification centre, while police were still looking for the missing people. It was not clear whether those rescued had requested asylum.

(Reporting by Renee Maltezou and Angeliki Koutantou, Editing by William Maclean)

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Reuters