It’s a scene that’s every parent’s nightmare. A little girl, playing at the beach on an inflatable unicorn drifted away from the shore as her dad, and other beachgoers raced to catch her.
The would-be rescuers at the beach at Antirrio in Greece used a dinghy to try and row out to her, but the strong currents pushed them away, and the little girl, wailing, continued to drift out to sea, for nearly a kilometre.
Her parents called for help, and the authorities contacted a nearby ferry, the Salaminomachos, captained by Grigoris Karnesis (50), which was the closest vessel in the area. At that point, she had been in the water for 20 minutes.
When the ferry reached the child, who has not been named, “she was in shock, she didn’t speak, she was frozen,” said Petros Kritsonis, the passenger whose video clip of the rescue has gone viral.
The captain had to carefully manoeuvre the enormous ferry – it’s over 100m long and can hold more than 300 cars and 500 passengers - for the rescue, he said. The trickiest part was getting close to the girl without toppling the inflatable, or letting it get caught in the ship’s backwash.
Once the ferry was in position, a ramp was lowered, and his brother, the ship mechanic, Vasilis Karnesis reached off the edge of the ramp to grab the toddler, who was unharmed, and soon reunited with her parents.
It was the first time in his 22 years at sea that he had helped rescue a child, Vasilis told the New York Times. “We just did what we had to do. The next day,” he said, “we felt proud.”
In a separate incident, a three-year-old from Taiwan was sent flying into the air after becoming entangled on the tail of a giant kite, The Guardian reports.
The tot was participating in a kite festival when she was suddenly hoisted several meters into the air as onlookers watched helplessly.
The youngster was airborne for 30 seconds before operators managed to get ahold of the kite low enough and untangle the tail attached to her stomach, CNN reported. The little girls fall was cushioned by a crowd that gathered below and she was returned to her parents unharmed.