Video footage has emerged showing Turkish fishermen in the western resort town of Kuşadası rescuing a toddler in a lifejacket in the sea off the Aegean province Aydın after a migrant boat capsized on Oct. 21.
Two migrants died and 16 others went missing in two separate accidents in the Aegean Sea, when boats heading to Greece from Turkey capsized. Some 15 migrants in the boat were rescued while 15 others were missing as of Oct. 22, while Turkish coast guards are continuing their work to find the missing migrants.
The men were fishing when they noticed the 18-month-old baby floating in the water, in a life jacket. They also then saw a group of refugees floating in their life jackets nearby.
The fishermen initially thought that the baby, pale and cold, was already dead, but they soon noticed that baby Muhammad was making sounds. The baby was pulled out of the water by the fishermen, who struggled to save his life.
“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 harbor arrived to help us before taking the baby to Kuşadası,” said the captain of the boat, Recep Evran.
The toddler, identified as Muhammad Hasan, is now reported to be in good health at the İzmir State Hospital after initial treatment in Kuşadası.
Witnesses of the event said they helped 15 other people to get on their boat after noticing a group of migrants, mostly women, floating in their lifejackets and crying for help.
“They were trying to explain with hand signs that there were 30 people in the water. We think the others are deep at the bottom of the sea,” the captain added. The group who had waited for up to five hours in the water included a pregnant woman, one witness said.
At the beginning of September, the dead body of a four-year-old Syrian Kurdish boy Aylan Kurdi was photographed on the shores of the Turkish resort Bodrum after a migrant boat capsized, becoming a tragic symbol of the Syrian refugee influx into the EU.