Muhammad Hasan, an 18-month old little boy, was rescued at sea after a refugee boat capsized.
The incident occurred on Wednesday, October 21, off the Aegean province of Aydn, after a boat of refugees headed for Greece capsized. According to Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, several Turkish fisherman rescued 15 Syrians before they noticed Hasan floating in the water. They initially believed the boy to be dead. However, they quickly realized he was alive and pulled him out of the water and started attempting to resuscitate him. Dramatic footage of the scene has now been uploaded online. At least 14 of the migrants were still missing as of Thursday, October 22.
“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.
— DAILY SABAH (@DailySabah) October 23, 2015
According to the Turkish news website Today’s Zaman, Hasan was apparently found one and a half miles from where the fisherman first started rescuing the refugees, some of which had been in the water for up to five hours.
“We first saw an orange piece of debris in the water, and then realized there were people around when we looked closer. People holding onto each other in groups of two or three were struggling to survive in the sea. They had been in the water for at least four to five hours when we got there,” Evran said.
“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.
After pulling the migrants out of the water and handing them over to another boat so their boat wouldn’t capsize as well, they saw Hasan floating alone.
— BGN News (@bgnnewsturkey) October 21, 2015
“We saw the baby whose hands were unmoving, stiff like a robot… We were devastated because we thought he was already dead. But then we heard a groaning. At that moment, it was like we were given the world,” he added.
The toddler is now said to be in good condition at the İzmir State Hospital after receiving initial treatment in Kuşadası for hypothermia. Although he is doing well, he will remain at the hospital to receive further treatment. Hasan’s mother was also one of the refugees who were rescued by the Turkish fisherman. The whereabouts of his father, however, remain unknown.
Click here to watch the video of Hasan’s rescue.
In early September, the dead body of a 4-year-old Syrian Kurdish boy Aylan Kurdi was photographed lying face down on the beach of a Turkish resort Bodrum after a migrant boat capsized. It was a tragic symbol of the Syrian refugee influx to Europe. According to the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah, the crisis in Syria could trigger further refugee waves. More than 2 million Syrians are expected to flee Aleppo, which is a major Syrian city that is currently controlled by rebels, if ISIS completely takes over.
The U.N. Refugee Agency reported on Wednesday that teh sea arrivals to Greece have now passed the half-million mark for this year alone. Nearly 8,000 people arrived on the Aegean Islands just on Tuesday.
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