Help us keep the Aegean Boat Report running! Please donate

Baby Boy Drowned on Lesvos, Mother Pushed Back by Greek Authorities

On Friday December 16 a boat carrying 35 people crashed into rocks of the coast in the Fara area west of the entrance to the gulf of Sheraton Lesvos south, according to the information published by the Hellenic coast guard.

During the rescue operation 34 people was recovered alive, including two people who was injured and taken to hospital, a two month old boy was found dead, reportedly drowned caused by the shipwreck.

According to a statement published by the police, the information regarding arrivals in the area of Gera initially came from an email from the organization Alarmphone, and that they had received another email at 10.13 from UNHCR informing them of a dead baby.

A statement was published by MSF on Saturday where they informed that they had been stopped by officers from the local police and port authorities and held back, for almost two hours, not allowed to go into the area to attend shipwreck victims before after 12 pm. “On our way to the site, the Hellenic Police stopped us for almost 2 hours, delaying the possibility of timely medical care. Another group was stopped by the Greek Coast Guard. We will never know if these two hours would allow us to save the baby’s life,” the MSF statement reads.

Due to the email sent by Alarmphone, an organization authorized previously has accused of espionage, police claimed to have sealed off the area for investigation purposes, and that this was the reason for holding medical staff from MSF back.

Alarmphone has published a statement saying Greek authorities are trying yet again to cover up their own crimes.

Several versions have been published by port authorities, their statements seems to change from time to time to better fit information published by MSF and press articles, especially on when they were informed and what time they went to the area.

In one of the versions port authorities claimed that the Port Authority of Mytilene was informed of the arrival of the refugees at “noon” and “immediate officials of the Port Authority of Plomari went to the area with a patrol vehicle of the Hellenic Coast Guard”. In a more recent update, the Coast Guard stated that the information it had was from the High Commission at the same time as the police had received this information. Alarmphone, according to EFSYN, sent out the email to inform authorities at 08.43, and not at “noon”.

So when did authorities actually intervene, and what was the real reason for blocking medical personnel from entering the area? According to reports, the time the two units of MSF arrived in the area was around 09.45 in the morning, they first unite was blocked for two hours by police forces, and the second by the port police! Which means quite simply that the Coast Guard, which according to the police also had jurisdiction over the operation, was in the area early on.

According to information published by Thrasos Avraám, several vehicles without license plates had been observed in the area by locals this morning. Normally road blocks are put up by authorities to give these groups time to remove people without witnesses, pushing people back to Turkey. This information indicates that MSF was blocked so that they would not interfere with authorities illegal activities, and had little to do with who informed authorities on this arrival.

Information from the refuges themselves stated that they had been 50 people on the boat, not 34 as authorities claimed, and that 16 people was missing, one of them the mother of the dead baby boy, according to the boy’s father. In authorities statements noting was published on missing people nor any actions taken to try to locate them. What could possibly be the reason for leaving such important information out of their official statements?

Press statement

“In the early hours of today, the Port Authority of Mytilene received the results of the autopsy – autopsy carried out by the Forensic Service of the North Aegean, according to which the infant’s death occurred “as a result of drowning in sea water”.

The results are consistent with an email sent by UNHCR, around 10:13 on 16/12/2022, informing both the Port Authority of Mytilene and the competent authorities about the incident in question, stating the existence of the dead infant, who according to information he had fallen into the sea upon the arrival of the foreigners on the island and his death had been noticed by them foreigners arriving after disembarkation on land.

The aforementioned briefing was followed by investigations to identify the foreigners from L.S. – EL.AKT patrol boats. and L.S.-EL.AKT patrol vehicles and around 15:00 a total of thirty-four (34) foreigners and the infant, unconscious, were found in the land area “FARA” n. Lesvos.

Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy, Office of Communication and Information”

Information published by authorities on this case has been confusing, since they change their statements to better fit information published by organizations and journalists. What we are about to reveal next will drastically change how this case is perceived, and raise many questions on what authorities actually did and the reason for doing so.

On December 16, at 14.55, a life raft carrying 16 people (Yemen, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Liberia), was found drifting outside Dikili by Turkish coast guard.

The rescued claimed to have been part of a larger group, approximately 50 people, that arrived on Lesvos south earlier this morning. One of the people found in this life raft was a woman who claimed she had been separated from her two months old boy and her husband, they, according to her, was left behind on Lesvos.

We won’t speculate in what really happened on Lesvos this morning, because so far we have not been able to confirm all of the information. One thing is clear, Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Insular Policy has published a statement that is far from the truth, deliberately lying to the public on an incident where a two month old baby boy died, this is extremely worrying and shows the lengths the Greek authorities are willing to go to cover up their illegal practice.

We are informed that legal actors are in contact with the victims in Turkey, and specifically the alleged mother of the dead baby boy, hopefully more information will be published by the parties involved when the time is right. It will also be interesting to see how the Ministry will react, and if they once again will change their statement to better fit the narrative.

This case that resulted in the death of a two month old baby boy, and similar cases in Greece, should be thoroughly investigated by an independent EU body, and not by Greek authorities, whose only interest is to cover up their own crimes.

%d bloggers like this: