The heartbroken father of the little Syrian refugee whose drowning shocked the world described the horrific moments when their overloaded dinghy began filling with water and he lost his wife and sons to the cruel sea.
“My children slipped from my hands,” Abdullah Kurdi said Thursday in an interview with the Dogan News Agency in Turkey.
“We tried to hold onto the boat, but it deflated rapidly. Everyone was screaming in pitch darkness. I couldn’t make my voice heard to my wife and kids.”
“I tried to swim to the beach by following the lights,” he said. “I looked for my wife and children on the beach but couldn’t find them.”
It wasn’t until the next day that 3-year-old Aylan Kurdi was found face down on a Turkish beach and photos of the dead child sparked fresh calls for action to deal with the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
The bodies of his 5-year-old brother, Galip, and their mother, Rihan, 35, were found later.
Kurdi, an ethnic Kurd from the city of Kobani, said he was hoping to get his family to Canada where his sister lives. He said the Turkish smuggler they had paid to ferry them to the Greek island of Kos got frightened when the seas got too rough and jumped ship rather than complete the trip.
“I took over and started steering,” Kurdi said. “The waves were so high and the boat flipped.”
Kurdi said he has given up on going on to Canada. His sister, Teema Kurdi, said she tried for years to get her family to Vancouver.
“I was trying to sponsor them, and I have my friends and my neighbors who helped me with the bank deposits, but we couldn’t get them out, and that is why they went in the boat,” she told the Ottawa Citizen. “I was even paying rent for them in Turkey, but it is horrible the way they treat Syrians there.”
Canada’s immigration minister, Chris Alexander, said he would investigate why the family’s petition to immigrate was rejected. He said there was no record of Kurdi applying for asylum.
Source: New York Daily News