Ferry captain had to return for missing men ‘even if they were enemies’: Prosecutor
Şükrü Kahraman, 28, Mikayıl Çelik, 30, Yusuf Büyükizgi, 29, Serdar Demir, 25, and Doğan Demir, 21, were sailing on sea bicycles in the Marmara Sea near the Kumburgaz neighborhood in Istanbul before they went missing on Aug. 17.A testimony report has revealed a prosecutor told ferry captain Yavuz Yılmaz that he had to return for men drowning in the Marmara Sea “even if they were enemies,” after passengers reported the situation, daily Vatan has reported.
Şükrü Kahraman, 28, Mikayıl Çelik, 30, Yusuf Büyükizgi, 29, Serdar Demir, 25, and Doğan Demir, 21, were sailing on sea bicycles in the Marmara Sea near the Kumburgaz neighborhood in Istanbul before they went missing on Aug. 17.
The body of Serdar Demir was found Aug. 23 on the shore of Gündoğdu village on Marmara Island, around 100 kilometers away from Kumburgaz, but a search operation has failed to find the other men.
The testimony revealed that passengers notified Yılmaz, the captain of a ferry run by the Istanbul Fast Ferries Co. Inc. (İDO) travelling from Avşa Island to Yenikapı, that they saw people struggling in the sea on the day the five men went missing. The families of the five men filed a complaint against the captain and an investigation was opened.
The prosecutor asked Yılmaz why he did not return for the missing men after passengers told him that they had seen two people on a small boat in the sea.
He also asked the captain why he had breached the law on protection of life and assets in the sea. “Captains are obliged to help people whose life is in danger, regardless of them being enemies,” he said.
The captain replied that he did not see anyone while he was piloting the ferry. He also said he did not want to risk the lives of the 449 passengers on board due to strong winds and a storm. The prosecutor claimed that a weather report from the incident date did not reveal the existence of a storm. IDO released a statement Aug. 21 confirming the incident, adding that the captain had performed all necessary procedures and given the coastal safety department the coordinates of the location reported by the passengers.