‘I’m lucky I made it’: Eritrean Woman in Migrant Shipwreck Tells of Her Terrifying Ordeal

EXCLUSIVE: ‘I’m lucky I made it’: Eritrean woman in iconic picture of dramatic migrant shipwreck tells of her terrifying ordeal 

  • Negasi Nebiat, 24, almost drowned when migrant ship sank off Rhodes
  • Her family paid smugglers $10,000 to take her from Eritrea to Sweden
  • Shipwreck claimed the lives of three people trying to reach Europe
  • Negasi now on her way to Athens and says she’s thankful to be alive
    By NAZIA PARVEEN | www.dailymail.co.uk | April 24, 2015

Eritrean Woman in Migrant Shipwreck Tells of Her Terrifying Ordeal

Her image was broadcast across the world after up to 1,000 migrants died in a 24-hour period as they tried to cross the Mediterranean in the hope of a better life
Negasi Nebiat was saved after the wooden boat carrying her crashed off the popular Greek island of Rhodes.
The 24-year-old Eritrean is now on her way to Athens after being miraculously saved from a sinking ship by Greek islanders.

After being rescued on Monday Negasi collapsed with exhaustion and suspected Pneumonia and remained in hospital for three days.
Wegasi Nebiat was rescued from a shipwreck when the smuggler boat she was travelling in crashed in rocks off the Greek islands of Rhodes. Three people, including a six year old boy, died in the tragedy on Monday

Negasi Nebiat was rescued from a shipwreck when the smuggler boat she was travelling in crashed in rocks off the Greek islands of Rhodes. Three people, including a six year old boy, died in the tragedy on Monday

But on Thursday night she was reunited with her friends and fellow Eritrean refugees as she became officially free and boarded a boat bound for Athens at 5pm.
As she saw her fellow countrymen she broke down in tears of joy and struggled to grasp the ordeal that she had to endure in the hope of securing a better life for herself.
She said: ‘I am so happy. We are not sure what we will do but we hope to travel across Europe.’
She told of how she began her perilous journey to Europe from her African homeland over a month ago.

Her family paid more than 10,000 dollars to give her the chance of starting a new life in Europe hoping that she would eventually reach Sweden.
Negasi started her journey in Asmara, the capital city of Eritrea, where she lives with her father Johannes and her mother Genet and a younger brother.
She caught a bus to the west of the country to the small city of Teseney. From here the journey would become ‘painful’ as she walked 70km to Kessalla, a tiny city on the border of Sudan.

Wegasi is reunited with her friends on the ferry from Rhodes. 

Negasi is reunited with her friends on the ferry from Rhodes. The Eritrean was one of 100 passengers who clung to debris and almost drowned when a smuggler boat they were on founded off the Greek island

She was then picked up by smugglers in a car and taken to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum before flying to Istanbul with a false passport.
Once inside Turkey she travelled to the coast and in Marmaris she eventually ended up on the wooden boat bound for the Greek Island.
After the boat spectacularly crashed killing three people including a child Negasi was rescued and taken to Rhodes General Hospital.

She was then picked up by smugglers in a car and taken to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum before flying to Istanbul with a false passport.
Once inside Turkey she travelled to the coast and in Marmaris she eventually ended up on the wooden boat bound for the Greek Island.
After the boat spectacularly crashed killing three people including a child Negasi was rescued and taken to Rhodes General Hospital.
The dramatic scenes saw rescuers and locals desperately trying to help the migrants to safety. A mother and her six-year-old boy from Eritrea and a 23-year-old man from Syria were killed in the tragedy.
After being rescued most of the migrants were taken to hospital before being transferred to the Harbour Police headquarters on the Rhodes seafront.
Meanwhile, Negasi remained in hospital for three days with suspected Pneumonia after doctors found water on her lungs.
Speaking through an oxygen mask she blushed as she was shown a picture of herself being carried ashore by a Greek local who waded into the water to save her.
Wegasi weeps as she starts her journey to Athens. She said she feels thankful to be alive, adding: 'I don't remember much. I was in the water and scare and then I was here... I am lucky that I made it'

Negasi weeps as she starts her journey to Athens. She said she feels thankful to be alive, adding: ‘I don’t remember much. I was in the water and scare and then I was here… I am lucky that I made it’

She said: ‘I don’t remember much. I was in the water and scared and then I was here. I feel lucky. I have family back at home and I am lucky that I made it.’
Negasi revealed how she left her home country in the Horn of Africa many months ago and made her way to Turkey after her family paid people smugglers thousands of dollars.
She eventually joined a group of refugee’s in a ‘pension’ in Marmaris. The 100 passengers from Africa and Syria remained in the hotel for a short time before being they embarked on their journey across the Mediterranean.

They were taken to a secluded beach in the early hours of Sunday morning before being loaded into the cabin of a wooden boat by two men who called themselves ‘captains’.
The cabin which normally only has capacity for a maximum of 30 people was crammed and not long after setting off the passengers began to feel ill.
Negasi’s friend Aziza Tekle, 27, who also travelled on the boat said it was ‘very scary’ and described it as the most terrifying experience of her life.
The journey lasted almost six hours and the boat eventually tried to land on a popular local beach Zephyros on the north of the island.
But the waves crashed against the wooden hull causing the boat to lose direction and instead head for some jagged rocks.
The boat spectacularly crashed into the rocks smashing the boat and causing the passengers to fall into the sea.
Aziza said: ‘We all thought we were going to drown. We were all down in the cabin so we couldn’t really see anything and then there was a bang and we (were) in the water.
‘I (was) very scared. We wanted to get out and all these people helping us.’
Video footage shows the overcrowded sailing boat listing dangerously as it is pushed by the waves against a reef at Zephyros beach with people being thrown into the sea.

Locals are then seen jumping into the water as sirens are heard in the background with rescuers making their way down to the beach.
Manolis Stavris, a local sailor, was one of the first to arrive at the scene to help the migrants at 9:30am when their boat collided.
He said: ‘We were the first to spot the boat, we thought it was a tourist boat. When we saw it hit the rocks, we contacted the company and they told us to rush and save the people.
‘I saw a young woman holding on to a tube with a baby in her arms, while several people were struggling near her.
‘She was shouting ‘the baby, the baby.’ I saw the baby fall from her hands and slowly descend towards the bottom of the sea, like lead, like a stone. The baby was wearing a lot of clothes. I dove into the water and caught the child. Another six people fell in the water after me,’ he said.
He added: ‘I couldn’t feel the cold, or anything. I only cared about saving the people.
‘The child didn’t make a sound. She looked at me like she wanted to say something, I held her close and she didn’t make a sound, she didn’t even cry.”
‘I’ve never seen anything like what happened yesterday, only on television. I’ve been travelling for 38 years and I’ve never seen anything like that.
‘A Greek woman standing nearby, took the clothes off her own child in order to dress the baby that I had saved. We are all proud to be Greek. We may not have enough, we may be starving but in situations such like these we are the best people in the world.’

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Posted on April 24, 2015, in ETHIOPIA ENGLISH. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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