Monday 10 December 2018

'Hero of Aegean' who saved 5,000 refugees dies aged 44

 

Lieutenant Kyriakos Papadopoulos, pictured beside Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Lesbos in 2015, died late on Tuesday of a heart attack, aged 44. Photo: Reuters
Lieutenant Kyriakos Papadopoulos, pictured beside Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on Lesbos in 2015, died late on Tuesday of a heart attack, aged 44. Photo: Reuters

Paul Keane

Greeks yesterday mourned "the hero of the Aegean", who is credited with rescuing more than 5,000 refugees fleeing in small rubber boats at the height of Europe's migrant crisis in 2015.

Coast Guard Lieutenant Kyriakos Papadopoulos died late on Tuesday of a heart attack, aged 44.

Mr Papadopoulos steered his patrol vessel out to sea during the crisis, pulling to safety many refugees attempting the short but dangerous sea crossing from Turkey to Greece.

Born and raised on the island of Lesbos, Mr Papadopoulos "showed Europe what the values of humanity, solidarity, equality and peace mean to Greece", maritime minister Fotis Kouvelis said.

"He showed and highlighted the value of human life."

Barely 6km from Turkey, Lesbos has a history of taking in Greek refugees who fled Turkey in the 1920s.

Irish Independent

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