On Wednesday, two fishermen rescued an 18-month-old baby — a Syrian refugee named Muhammad. Fishermen Recep Evran and Cenap Gumran spotted the seemingly lifeless body of the baby floating in the Aegean Sea. Muhammad Hasan was wearing a life jacket, but the boat carrying him and around a dozen other passengers to a nearby island in Greece sank.
The video capturing the dramatic rescue of Muhammad shows the two fishermen plucking the small body of the baby from the sea, and their combined, frantic scrambling to save the baby’s life.
The fisherman had initially alerted his crew to something he saw floating in the distance on the sea, but it wasn’t until their own boat approached that the extreme danger of the other boat’s situation became apparent. There were many in need of rescue.
“Oh my God, there’s a baby, too,” one fisherman shouted.
“We were very upset [because we thought] he wasn’t alive,” Evran explained, adding that when he and Gumran initially spotted the baby, they assumed he had already drowned.
“We thought he was dead. Then, when we were pulling Muhammad to the boat, we heard his voice… And at that moment, we were ecstatic. I said ‘He’s alive, he’s alive!’ “
It was a cell phone that captured what became very real high seas drama next, as the baby was pulled from the water, his life vest ripped off, and successful efforts to revive him made. Watch the dramatic footage below.
After the rescue of the baby, more children were spotted in the water. Thankfully, they were rescued as well — all passengers of the boat, full of migrants, sank just a few miles off of the coast of Turkey.
The two fishermen who rescued the baby recently met with Muhammad and his mother, Lorin Hanef. The boy’s father, it is reported, remains in Syria.
The child’s mother, Lorin Hanef, thanked the fishermen for saving her son’s life.
“The two of you gave him a new life. We are grateful to you. May God bless you,” she said.
According to officials, Muhammad, his mother, and the other two boys who were rescued are all in good health. However, this averted tragedy simply highlights the growing migrant crisis — a crisis, they believe, that will worsen and become more desperate as the weather grows colder, CBS News correspondent Jonathan Vigliotti reported.
“Such tragic scenes have become commonplace and mark the latest desperate push by migrants to make it to Europe before the chill of winter sets in.
“Already, conditions in Greece have become dangerous. One refugee camp was pounded by heavy rain, and many were hungry and exhausted.
“In just the past few days, officials say nearly 50,000 people fleeing conflict in North Africa and Middle East have made it to Greece’s coast — but dozens more have died at sea, including 14 from Wednesday’s incident.”
Muhammad, the baby rescued by the two quick-acting fishermen, and his mother, Lorin, never made it to Greece, which was their destination. The two remain in Turkey, simply thankful, for the moment, that they escaped with their lives attempting a trip that has claimed the lives of so many. In September, a 3-year-old boy named Aylan Kurdi was found on a beach in Turkey, dressed in blue shorts and a red shirt, drowned. His family had tried to escape in a small rubber boat that capsized during their desperate attempt to reach Greece. Along with Aylan, his 5-year-old brother, Galip, and his mother, Rehan, also died during their attempt to make their way to Greece, leaving only a distraught and broken father and husband, Abdullah, alive. For more on that story, click here.
[Photo by Anadolu Agency / Getty Images]