Spanish Guardia Civil officer Juan Francisco rescued a newborn baby in the ocean off the coast of Ceuta | Source: guardiacivil on Twitter
Spanish Guardia Civil officer Juan Francisco rescued a newborn baby in the ocean off the coast of Ceuta | Source: guardiacivil on Twitter

The photo made headlines worldwide this week: A Spanish Guardia Civil officer, saving a newborn baby from drowning off the coast of Ceuta. Officer Juan Francisco spoke to Spanish media about how he and his colleagues rescued the boy and his mother.

Juan Francisco, the Spanish Guardia Civil officer photographed saving a baby from drowning in the ocean off the coast of Ceuta earlier this week, told Spanish reporters that the baby was "frozen, cold, he didn't move much" when he took him into his hands.

The baby was rescued as his mother was carrying him on her back in a desperate attempt to swim to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta.

The two were among 8,000 migrants who attempted to cross from Morocco to Ceuta within 36 hours, starting Sunday night.

"There were three of us in the water, we were helping various people," Francisco told television broadcaster La Sexta. "I saw a woman with a toy life jacket, trying to survive... I thought she was wearing a backpack with some clothes inside, but after one movement I realized it was a baby," he said.

"A colleague and I went quickly towards them. I took the baby and he helped the mother."

The officer didn't immediately know what condition the baby was in.

"He was so pale and motionless that I didn't know if he was okay or not," he told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser.

He said that the baby and his mother are now doing well, according to the information he has received.

Francisco said he and his colleague had to carry out many other rescues in recent days. "On Monday there were continuous arrivals of people who were desperately trying to reach our shores. There were fathers, mothers, elderly people, children, everything," he told media.

He said he and his colleagues were in the water for "10 to 15 hours."

The incident that left the biggest impression on him, he told reporters, was a failed rescue -- where the migrant drowned. "We didn't get there in time," he recalled.

 

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