Lifeguard Simon Lewis Forced To Refuse Migrant Baby At Sea

January 28, 2016 | By Garrett Montgomery More

Australian lifeguard Simon Lewis is opening up about not being able to help a Syrian mother pleading with him to rescue her baby while on a rescue mission on the Mediterranean sea. Lewis, who joined authorities on the Greek island of Lesbos for rescue operations, explained that they have been faced with hundreds of refugees fleeing Syria.

Lifeguard Simon Lewis

Australian lifeguard Simon Lewis recently sat down for an emotional interview where he talked about having the difficult choice between saving a Syrian baby or faced criminal charges. Lewis almost faced a similar situation like the tragic events that lead to the death of Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old boy, who was found lying face-down on a beach near Turkey.

Strangely enough, moved by the images of Kurdi’s body, Lewis, who is the director of St Kilda Life Saving Club in Melbourne, became a member of International Surf Lifesaving Association, an organization that gathers professional surf lifesavers to help Greek lifesavers. On January 3, Lewis began his first shift where he was supposed to meet the rest of his team and take part in a training exercise, but a double-decker ferry was carrying 200 asylum seekers and appeared on the shores.

Moments after Lewis and his colleagues helped the first group of passengers from the first boat on shore; another one appeared on the horizon with about 40 refugees on board. In that vessel was a desperate mother, who tried to hand over/toss her baby to Lewis, who was in a rescue boat. He said it was very hard to refuse to take the child, and added:

“Within 45 minutes, I have a boat of 200 people coming straight for us,” Lewis said. “To stand there and look at the boat up close in the water and then be handed a child and pass it on to a French lifeguard, an Italian lifeguard … It was like, ‘Did that just happen?’.”

The boat carrying the mother and child was in Turkish waters, and they were trying to get to the Greek island of Lesbos and reach the European Union. If Lewis caught the baby and took it back to Lesbos, he knew he could be charged with smuggling for carrying the baby across the border. Lewis confessed:

“And she looked at me like that.Those eyes. And you know, she stared me down, and I will never forget that moment. We broke this poor lady’s heart — I broke this poor lady’s heart. You know, not receiving her baby in the middle of the Aegean Sea.”

More than 660,000 refugees arrived in Greece in 2015 and about 700 people have drowned trying to cross into Europe. There has been no tragedy on the seven boats Lewis and his team have shepherded across the Aegean Sea.

What are your thoughts on what lifeguard Simon Lewis did?

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    Comments (9)

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    1. Voice of many says:

      Judge not less you be judged.

    2. Marianna Van Doorn Pérez says:

      EVERY human life should be honored and protected from natural conception to natural death. In the eyes of God, we ARE our brothers keepers. Regardless of the consequences, I would have saved these children. I would rather die on my knees doing God’s work, than stand knowing I have denied His Will in saving the life of a child.

      • DR. BARBARA JIM-GEORGE says:

        I agree. I’d rather face the consequences of breaking the letter of the law than to allow an innocent child to die because I failed to see the spirit of the law of God to “love my neighbor as myself.”

    3. Marianna Van Doorn Pérez says:

      EVERY human life should be honored and protected from natural conception to natural death. God has told us we ARE our brothers keepers. I would rather live on my knees doing God’s Will than stand knowing I had denied the life of ANY human being – especially that of child, regardless of the consequences. ALL human life is precious.

    4. peter says:

      My God what mother could give a baby away? What kind of people decide to bring humans into the world when they live in a war zone? This planet is insane.

      • Mrs. Good says:

        The type of mother that would give her baby away is a mother that wants her baby to have a chance at life. When all around her is death and destruction, I am sure she felt that was the best option for the infant. When people are faced with dire circumstances the once unthinkable becomes and option. I just hope they all survived.

      • DR. BARBARA JIM-GEORGE says:

        Mothers have “given their babies away” as you put it, to spare them a worse fate. Most mothers would rather have their children raised and loved by others than to see t heir children suffer. You apparently have no children.

    5. KAH says:

      So did the baby die or not? What was this man “opening up” about? I don’t understand from this article what the problem was if lifeguards from other nations were passed the baby. Please explain. Also why did Turkey not rescue them since they were in their waters? They advertise for tourism. They make it sound like a nice enough place for anyone, particularly refugees who should be glad to end there hard journey anywhere. Why did she needlessly endanger her baby?

    6. Stacy says:

      My heart breaks for any woman living a Muslim country. However, look at what is happening to the women and girls who live in Western nations once these Islamic “refugees” get a foothold. Are their lives and safety less important? Rape, honor killings. child marriage, mutilation etc. have no place here. Turkey and Saudi Arabia should welcome them in. They are culturally and materially equipped to help. These kinds of stories are used to manipulate people and blind them to a clear and present danger.

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