Drowned toddler becomes first 2016 migrant casualty in the Aegean
ISTANBUL/ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
A child gets assistance to remove her life jacket upon her arrival on an inflatable boat carrying migrants on the Greek island of Kos after crossing the Aegean Sea. AFP photoA drowned two-year-old boy became the first known migrant casualty of the year on Jan. 1 after the crowded dinghy he was travelling in slammed into rocks off Greece’s Agathonisi island, the coastguard said.
The other 39 passengers, including a woman who had fallen overboard, were rescued after local fishermen raised the alarm.
Ten of the survivors were taken to hospital to be treated for hypothermia. The rubber vessel had set off from Turkey in the early morning in windy weather.
The charity Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS), which helps save migrants and refugees at sea, deployed its fast-rescue Responder boat to help bring the stranded passengers to safety in a joint operation with the Hellenic coastguard. The toddler’s body was pulled out of the water by fishermen, according to the coastguard. The migrants, including the child’s mother, were taken to the port of Pythagorio on Samos, the nearest island, which is 50 kilometers away.
Meanwhile, Turkish coastguards rescued 57 migrants seeking to reach EU member Greece by sea after they were stranded on a rocky islet in the Aegean Sea, official media said yesterday. The migrants were trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos but their boat hit trouble after leaving the resort of Dikili in İzmir province on Turkey’s Aegean coast.
They were stranded on a rocky islet off Dikili, with pictures showing the migrants, who included women and several children, looking for help from the tiny islet.