A group of Italian tourists on August 25, while on a catamaran off the isle of Kos in Greece, saved a migrant at sea. This is their witness account.
It was the night of 25 August when an Italian crew, sailing on the catamaran Lucile, heard a cry for help while off the coast of the Greek island of Kos. Their vacation turned into a rescue operation of a young man, approximately 25 years old, who was trying to reach Europe from Syria.
They were told that two other migrants had been traveling with him, but it is unclear what happened to them.
'We heard a voice coming from the sea'
"We heard a voice, on the windward side, we did not realize at first. Then we understood, it was coming from the sea," said one of the group of friends who rescued the man.
"When we realized that there was someone asking for help from the sea, we started searching. It took approximately 15 minutes to find the young man, he was wearing a black life jacket. The sound of his voice was getting closer. Once we spotted him we launched a rope which he grabbed and we pulled him on board with it."
The man was "immediately wrapped in a thermal blanket and Tatiana hugged him to keep him warm, he was hypothermic but still reactive," recalls Marco Luigi Dal Monte Casoni, the owner of the catamaran.
Firstly, "we gave him warm milk and cookies," explains the captain who filmed the rescue operation. "He was exhausted and little later he fell asleep.
'We will not forget that young man's eyes'
After the rescue, the captain said he warned Greek authorities and shortly after the catamaran was joined by a patrol boat who took the man on board. The coast guard was also alerted of the possible presence of an additional two men at sea and continued the search operation.
"We are overcome with emotions, we never would have thought of a similar situation, we are happy we were able to save him although, unfortunately we could not find his travel companions."
Of course "we will never forget that young man's eyes, he would not stop thanking us and he said 'Italia!'." Maybe he hoped to have reached Italy, the group said.
"We hope he will be treated well in Greece," they concluded.