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Haunting image of migrant drowning in sea once again puts spotlight on refugee crisis

The man in the picture survived but five people, including a child, drowned in waters off the Libyan coast.

world Updated: Nov 14, 2017 16:19 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Mediterranean Sea,Migrants,Libya migrants
A migrant tries to board a boat of the German NGO Sea-Watch in the Mediterranean Sea on November 6, 2017.(AFP Photo/Alessio Paduano)

Ashen face, arms above water, gasping for air -- the haunting image of a migrant trying to board a rescue boat in the Mediterranean Sea shows the perils of arduous journeys that refugees risk for a new life.

The man in the picture survived but five people, including a child, were killed and 58 rescued by German non-profit organization Sea-Watch in the rescue mission off the Libyan coast on November 6.

“When I took this picture I heard his breathing interrupted by the water that was going into his mouth. The sounds of that breath are still in my head,” AFP lensman Alessio Paduano, who clicked the haunting photo, said.

“As a human being I always hope not to attend dramatic scenes, but as a photojournalist I cannot avoid to be a witness of what I see, even if it goes very badly,” Paduano was quoted as saying by BBC. 

Migrants are rescued by members of German NGO Sea-Watch in the Mediterranean Sea. (AFP Photo)
The Libyan Coast Guard tries to recover migrants from a rubber dinghy in the Mediterranean Sea. (AFP Photo/Alessio Paduano)

The Libyan coast guard vessel took an unknown number of migrants back to the North African state while 58 survivors were on board the Sea-Watch 3.

Some 2,500 migrants have been rescued and brought to Italy so far this month, along with the bodies of 26 mainly Nigerian women recovered at the weekend.

This isn’t the first time a photograph has reflected the plight of migrants. The heart-rending images of a lifeless Syrian toddler, lying face down on a Turkish beach, sparked horror in 2015 as the cost of Europe’s burgeoning refugee crisis hit home.

(With agency inputs)

First Published: Nov 14, 2017 16:18 IST