b>Watch The Med Alarm Phone Investigations – 10th of March 2016Case name
: Alarm Phone alerted to 2 distress cases near Lesvos, in the Aegean SeaStatus of WTM Investigation
: Concluded Place of Incident
: Aegean SeaSummary of the Cases:
On Thursday, the 10th of March 2016, we were alerted to 2 distress cases near Lesvos, in the Aegean Sea. The waves were high and the small boats of the travellers were in danger of capsizing. In both cases, the travellers were eventually picked up and brought to Greece. Another group of travellers, we were informed about decided not to leave Turkey, because of the bad weather conditions.
Case 1: At 00:49am, a contact person alerted us to a boat in distress with about 55 persons on board South-east of Lesvos. He had lost contact with them 35 minutes earlier and was worried, because the boat was not in a good condition and the waves were high. He provided us with a phone number, but we could not reach the travellers either. At 1:01am, a second person alerted us to the same case, saying that he had lost contact "with the rubber boat" 40 min ago. The first contact person asked us to inform the Greek Coastguard and then the Turkish Coastguard. We asked for more information and our contact told us that the travellers were 40 adults (half men and half women) and 15 children. At 1:25am we talked to the Greek coastguards and passed on all the information we had. As we expected they were sceptical, because the coordinates were a bit old, but nevertheless, they seemed willing to take on the case. We also sent them an e-mail with the details of the case. At 1.45am, we tried to reach out to the boat again, but the phone did not even ring. At 2:18am, the first contact person sent us a message to inform us that a boat had picked up the travellers and brought them to Mytilene/Lesvos. He confirmed that all travellers were fine. We passed on the good news to the second contact person.
Case 2: At 2.45am, contact persons informed us about a boat in distress in Turkish waters, not far from the Turkish-Greek sea border. We were told that 40 travellers were on the boat and that the boat was in urgent danger of capsizing. We called the boat repeatedly, but every time we were directed to a voicemail. We asked our contact person what exactly the problem was on board and she told us that the waves were too high for the boat. She stressed that they wanted us to get in touch with the Turkish Coastguards immediately. At 3.00am, we reached the Turkish coastguard after several attempts. The officer on duty told us that they already knew about the case. Between 3 and 4am, we stayed in touch with the contact person, but she did not have any news from the travellers. At 4.00am, we called the Turkish coastguard again. They said that they were still working on the case. They had not reached the boat yet. When we asked if we could call again in 45 minutes they said that we should call back in 2 hours. At 4.37am, we called them again and they explained that they had gone to the location but had not found the boat. They said that the boat had maybe reached Greek territorial waters. They said that they had concluded the operation. We tried to get updates from our contact person but she did not respond to our messages anymore. At 2:45pm, the contact person finally confirmed that the Greek Coastguard had rescued the boat and that all travellers had arrived safely in Greece.