Greece ship survivors share harrowing stories

ISLAMABAD: Survivors of a devastating shipwreck off the coast of Greece have come forward to share their harrowing experiences, shedding light on the tragic events that unfolded on June 14. The survivors revealed that the ill-fated vessel met its demise due to an engine failure, plunging them into a nightmarish ordeal.

One survivor, Habib-ur-Rehman, hailing from Azad Jammu and Kashmir, disclosed that his journey commenced three months prior from the port city of Karachi. Providing crucial details about the ill-fated voyage, Rehman stated that the ship was carrying a staggering number of passengers, exceeding 350 individuals. Among them were women, children, and elderly travelers, all seeking a better future.

According to Rehman, the vessel veered off course, causing it to drift aimlessly in the open sea for five arduous days. The prolonged deviation from its intended route ultimately resulted in the catastrophic engine failure. Recounting the events, Rehman said, “The ship embarked on a voyage from Karachi to Egypt and then continued to Libya, where we endured three months without adequate provisions of food and water.” He added, “On June 8, we set sail once more, but tragedy struck on the night of June 14 at 2 am when the ship capsized near Greece.”

Another survivor, Muhammad Hamza from Gujranwala, shared his terrifying ordeal during the shipwreck. Hamza revealed that the vessel, originally designed to accommodate 400 passengers, was severely overcrowded with approximately 750 individuals onboard. When the ship began to tilt perilously, Hamza managed to stay on the upper side but ultimately made the difficult decision to jump into the water as the vessel sank. In a remarkable display of resilience, he clung to a plastic bottle and was later provided with a tube by two Egyptian passengers. They held on tightly to these makeshift flotation devices until they were eventually rescued by another passing ship.

The survivors also raised allegations against two individuals identified as Talat and Mandeep Bahawaldeen, who are purportedly agents from Azad Jammu and Kashmir. According to the survivors, these individuals received a significant sum of Rs2.2 million in exchange for arranging the ill-fated journey.

Sources indicate that the tragedy claimed the lives of over 750 people, including approximately 300 Pakistanis, leaving behind a mere 104 survivors. The incident serves as a grim reminder of the dangers faced by those embarking on perilous journeys in search of a better life, highlighting the urgent need for improved safety measures and increased awareness regarding the risks associated with irregular migration.

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