Turkish locals taking to the Aegean beaches on Tuesday were shocked to find another grim harvest from the refugee crisis; at least 27 bodies from a rubber dinghy that had deflated on the rocks.
Bodies were discovered on at least two beaches opposite the Greek island of Lesbos, towards which the unfortunate migrants had been heading.
They may be the first migrant fatalities at sea this year. It is unlikely they will be the last if the Syrian tragedy continues; in 2015 nearly 4000 people died trying to reach Europe.
The dead included women, children, and babies, more of whom appear now to be making the journey, an indication of the worsening crisis back home.
The strongest made it safely to shore from the rocks, but all the survivors needed hospital treatment for exposure or hypothermia.
“We came an hour ago. We heard a boat sank and hit the rocks. I surmise these people died when they were trying to swim to the shore. We came here to help as citizens,” said one man.
2015 saw a five-fold increase in the numbers trying to cross the seas to Europe. Unless peace comes to the region, these numbers could rise again this year.