ANKARA:Harrowing footage has emerged showing Turkish fishermen rescuing an a 18-month-old boy in a lifejacket, after the boat carrying him and other refugees capsized.Video of the incident shows how the fishermen from the Aegean town of Kuşadasi find the toddler, now identified as Muhammad Hasan, floating in the water as the boat sailed from Turkey to Greece.Initially believing he was dead, it was only when the boy started to make noises that they realised he was alive and immediately pulled him out of the water to administer first aid. They also found another group of refugees floating in their lifejackets nearby.“He was all pale. We suspected hypothermia as he was cold and his hands and feet were all white. He was also frothing at the mouth. We covered the baby with a blanket, tried to rescue him. After our call, a tow boat from the harbour arrived to help us before taking the baby to Kuşadasi,” Recep Evran, the captain of the boat, told the newspaper Hürriyet, after the incident on Thursday.
According to reports, at least two refugees died and 16 others went missing as at least two boats heading to Greece capsized off the Aegean coast. The Turkish coastguard was still searching for missing refugees.Muhammad is now in good health and has since been released from a hospital in the provincial capital Izmir after initial treatment in Kusadasi.The rescuers said they helped 15 other people out of the water, adding that most of those floating the water were women crying for help, including one woman who was pregnant. They said that the group had been in the water for about five hours before they were found by the fishermen who then alerted the coastguard.Muhammed was since successfully reunited with his mother, 23-year-old Lorin Halef, who said that the smugglers had promised them a bigger boat than the one they had been forced to take in the end.
“They put 30 people on the boat. They had told us that we would be going on a bigger boat. But when we got there, we saw that the boat was small,” Halef told Turkish reporters. “But by then it was too late to do anything. We wanted to go to Greece. We lived through a huge panic. But [the fishermen] saved us, I cannot thank them enough.”She also said that her husband Ihsan was still in Syria.The two fishermen who visited Lorin Halef and her son Muhammed in their home said that they had never experienced anything like this.“It is even nice to hear [Muhammed] cry,” Cenap Gümran, 48, the other fisherman on the boat said. “It makes me very happy to see him alive. I hope that the rest of his life will be wonderful.”So far more than 2,600 refugees and migrants are known to have drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2015, according to the International Organisation for migration .
The bodies of 29 people thought to be migrants were discovered on beaches around Zliten, 160km (100 miles) east of Tripoli, the Red Crescent said on Saturday.A spokesman said local residents alerted the agency to the bodies. They were thought to be from Africa. More bodies could be discovered on Sunday, the Red Crescent said.Meanwhile, Greece’s coast guard said on Sunday that a woman and two children aged seven and two drowned after their boat smashed into coastal rocks on the island of Lesbos in turbulent seas.The coast guard said that the boat was carrying 63 migrants at the time. Seven were still missing but the remaining 53 people on board were rescued.The bodies of the dead have been recovered. The nationalities of the victims and those rescued have not yet been determined.