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WORLD NEWS | Two deadly shipwreck survivors describe what happened to Greek authorities


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ATHENS, June 19 (AP) – A Greek news website published excerpts from the testimony of two survivors of a deadly maritime disaster in southwestern Greece on Wednesday, after a crowded boat carrying as many as 750 migrants sank. More than 500 people are feared to have drowned. international waters.

Passengers on the unfortunate trawler had to make ends meet on meager food and water that ran out hours before the disaster, two survivors reportedly testified.

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The news website kathimerini.gr, run by the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, published excerpts from the testimony of two survivors, Hassan, 23, from Syria, and Rana, 24, from Pakistan. The two men are mentioned by name only.

Hassan, who was traveling alone, recalled that they were given “minimal food and dirty water” during the four-day voyage from Libya, which was exhausted by Tuesday morning, when hungry and thirsty passengers began to complain.

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According to Hassan, who estimated there were 700 passengers on board, about 15 of them, including the captain, worked for the traffickers who organized the crossing. They are the only ones who can walk around the boat. Hassan, who was initially placed below deck, had to pay €10 to one of the 15 people who had to be moved above deck because he found it difficult to breathe.

Hassan told Greek authorities that he and other passengers believed the captain was lost and unable to reach Italy, and it was only after they complained that the captain called for help by satellite phone late Tuesday night.

Hassan said he found himself in the water when the trawler suddenly capsized when ships from the coast of Greece arrived at night. He said Greek coastguards rescued him and others, lifting them onto an inflatable boat.

Two or three more ships came during the night—it was early Wednesday—and helped. None of the survivors were wearing life jackets and they were taken to Kalamata Harbour, where they were given water, Hassan said. After showing photos of the survivors, he determined that seven of them worked for the traffickers. Greek authorities have so far arrested nine people suspected of being involved in the trafficking.

A total of 104 survivors were rescued, and 78 bodies were all rescued on Wednesday. If the estimate of 700-750 migrants on board is accurate, more than 500 are missing and the chances of others being found alive are rapidly diminishing.

Rana, a Pakistani citizen, testified that he lost his wife and children in the shipwreck: the excerpt on kathimerini.gr does not mention the number of children.

Rana testified that the trawler left Libya early on Friday, June 9. After three days at sea, the engine stopped, and one of the crew repeatedly repaired it, but the engine failed several times.

Rana claimed that on Tuesday, hours before the accident, some Egyptian passengers asked a passing merchant ship for water. The crew threw some bottles at them, but, Rana said, the Egyptian took them all and got into an argument with other passengers, who finally shared the water. Then, he said, the engine started working again and the trawler continued, but was forced to stop again about half an hour later. Lana fell to her knees, both afraid and praying. Rana claimed that the crew turned off the engines so passing ships could not hear them.

All of a sudden, the boat started to list to one side and take in water, he said. In the panic that ensued, many rushed to the opposite side, and the boat just capsized. Lana jumped into the sea, and although he couldn’t swim, he remained afloat for several minutes until a “big boat” picked him up. Confined to the cabin, his wife and children were not so lucky.

Both described in detail how they got on board. Hassan lives on the outskirts of the Syrian capital, Damascus, where he returned after working in Lebanon for three years.

To get to Germany, he flew to Libya, where he worked 40 days at low wages, before being taken by traffickers to a series of “shelters”, the last of which housed 300 people.

On Friday, June 9, a truck took them to a port where small boats ferried them to a fishing trawler that Hassan said was old and rusty. His father gave $4,500 to a middleman who would pay the traffickers when Hassan arrived in Italy.

Rana said he had paid $8,000 to a fellow Pakistani in Libya. His brother, who lives in Italy and arranged the payment, will hand over the remainder of the transit fee when he arrives in Italy, Lana does not know how much.

Rana was returned $2,000 of the $8,000 he paid to the Libyan, the brother of the person he paid. Rana said his countryman who lives in Libya is the owner of the trawler.

Rana and his family arrived in Libya via Dubai and Egypt, before being driven by car to a series of shelters in a nearly month-long journey before arriving in Tobruk, Libya. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)


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