Dramatic video released by the Turkish Coast Guard today captured the rescue of a lone Syrian refugee who had been clinging for several hours to a sinking boat in the Aegean Sea near Edremit, a city in eastern Turkey.
The helmet camera footage shows the Monday rescue of Syrian refugee Pelen Hussein from the perspective of Turkish Coast Guard Sgt. Tuncay Ceylan, according to international news agency Agence France-Presse.
The video shows Ceylan lowering himself from a helicopter and then swimming to Hussein, who can be seen desperately holding onto the bow of a vertically sinking boat nearly fully submerged in the water.
Ceylan then tells Hussein, "Jump into the water!" before getting a hold of him and hoisting him up back to the helicopter. Hussein was then flown back to land and immediately taken to a hospital, AFP reported.
Hussein "was on the verge of hypothermia, and in a state of shock," Ceylan told Turkish media, according to AFP. "I tried to calm him down."
Ceylan added, "When he came to himself a bit he started to cry. Probably his relatives came to his mind as there were a lot of corpses in the water."
Hussein was one of several dozen Syrian refugees who had set off by boat in the hopes of reaching the Greek island of Lesbos, which is near the Turkish eastern coast, AFP reported.
Twenty-seven migrants, 11 of them children, drowned, according to the Turkish Coast Guard.
Over 900,000 migrants and refugees entered Europe last year, according to the International Organization for Migration.
Many of the migrants and refugees risk their lives trying to flee dangerous conditions in war-torn countries by crossing perilous seas in overcrowded boats.
From the beginning of 2016 through this past Monday, IOM recorded 409 fatalities on Mediterranean routes, the organization said in a news release Tuesday.