'Why should a person drown?'

Lesbos, Greece,

Giorgos Mavripidis, a fisherman from Skala Sikamias, saved a family from drowning as they were trying to reach the shores of Lesvos in October 2009. Eight other lives were lost that day.

“There’s no doubt many people are going to drown again this year”, he says.  “Because here the storms are wild and the currents are strong.”

It was a regular morning for Giorgos Mavripidis. He was on his boat throwing his fishing nets when a speedboat loaded with people was capsized by the waves. Giorgos left his nets and rushed to help.

Giorgos managed to save three lives, but he wasn’t able to help everyone. Eight people, 5 of them young children, drowned that day.

“We were throwing them life jackets. They were calling for us. They couldn’t swim. They couldn’t even reach the life jackets which were one meter away.”

Many people who try to enter Europe through Greece by sea are forced to take more and more dangerous routes in an attempt to avoid their boats being intercepted. Stories of Illegal push-backs by the Greek Coastguard are often reported by migrants too.

“If this happens again and we can help, we will. [Because] if you are human, you think: why should a person drown?”

 

Read more

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‘Somebody put a knife to the boat and it sank’ (Blog, 10 July 2013)
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