Shocking footage has emerged which appears to show a person on board a Greek vessel trying to sink an inflatable dinghy packed with nearly 60 refugees.
In the video, released by Turkey's Office of Public Diplomacy, a member of the Greek coast guard can be seen using a long stick — a lance according to some sources — against the flimsy raft.
Although it isn’t clear if he deliberately punctures it, the vessel starts to sink. The Greek boat then slowly sails away, leaving the refugees at the mercy of the Turkish coast guard.
“The Headquarters of the Hellenic Coast Guard categorically denies reports in the foreign press and altered audiovisual material on a foreign website, according to which a vessel of the Hellenic Coast Guard is allegedly attempting to sink a boat with refugees,” read an official statement, released by Greek authorities after the video went viral.
It further stated the Greek coast guards were working with their Turkish counterparts to rescue the refugees – not trying to drown them.
This is the first time such an incident has been reported in the news ever since the refugee crisis erupted this year.
Around 650,000 refugees and migrants have risked their lives in the Mediterranean to reach the shores of Greece in 2015 so far. Although countless died on the way, the Greek coast guard managed to save 90,000 stranded people.