A 32-year-old man who was rescued from the sea by a cargo ship on Thursday off Cape Greco was the only survivor of a group of eight Syrians who were on their way to Cyprus, reports said on Friday.
The man was picked up by a US-flagged cargo ship after being spotted 15 nautical miles northeast of Cape Greco and alerted Cypriot authorities.
The captain of the vessel ‘Safmarine Nimba’ alerted the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre (Jrcc) at Larnaca requesting an emergency dispatch.
Police, under severe weather conditions, dispatched a helicopter to airlift the man from the ship. The helicopter returned to Larnaca airport at 6.15pm, and the man was immediately transferred to the town’s general hospital with hypothermia.
His condition was considered serious but not life-threatening.
According to the man’s statement, he, along with seven other people from Syria, had set off from Tripoli for Cyprus on December 21.
He said their GPS malfunctioned and they lost their way, drifting aimlessly in the area amid rough seas.
The man told the authorities their small boat eventually ran out of fuel before capsizing on December 23.
Everyone else on board drowned, he said, adding that he held on to a life vest for three days until he was rescued by the US-flagged cargo ship Safmarine Nimba.
Jrcc said on Friday a helicopter, which searched the area between Cyprus and Lebanon did not find any signs of life or the wreck.
The Jrcc said it had issued navigational warnings asking all ships in the area to keep an eye out for any survivors.