Sunday 15.9.13: A small dinghy trying to reach Greece from the Turkish shore and carrying 12 refugees from Syria got in distress at sea in the night of the 14th September around 23:30 after it hit on some rocks and water got into the boat.
The twelve refugees fell into the sea. The current separated them. Some of the refugees didn’t know how to swim. They only survived with the help of the other Syrians until the Russian cargo ship Yalker and a fisherboat saved them at 8:30 of the other morning near the bay of Gera/ Mytilene. At 10:30 the Greek coast guard brought them to Mytilene. Two Syrians had to be transferred to the hospital. All of them were exhausted, some had bruises from the sea. After registration by the coast guard they were transferred to PIKPA. Today they are going to be handed their papers and left to go to Athens.
Account of one of the survivors a few hours later in PIKPA/ Mytilene:
“It was 11:30 o’clock at night when we passed the sea broder to Greece, just half an hour after we had left Dikeli in Turkey. We hit a rock and our dinghy started taking on water. We desperately tried to empty it but suddenly it broke and started sinking. We fell into the sea. Some of us could not swim. Everybody was screaming and crying.I was holding on a piece of wood. We stayed nine hours in the sea. I got so tired that i fell asleep in the sea on my back. Maybe I was unconscious. Then I heard someone screaming. A cargo boat by the name YALKER arrived. It saved me. Some other got saved by a fisher boat. The people on bord of the Yalker gave us their clothes, coffee, something to eat. I heard others crying and I cried a lot too because I thought my friend had died. Later I saw he had survived too. Two other Syrians saved him holding his body for all the time over the water. We all survived.”
In an e-mail the surviving Syrian refugees thanked the Yalker crew. The Yalker replied:
“We are very happy we could rescue the people! The watch officer noticed the people in the sea through the binocular and immediately informed the captain. We started the rescue operation after one minute. We practice every week rescue measures. It is a serious matter. In the world human life counts first!”
See more about the accident in the local news:
lesvos news (in greek)