Horror of migrant, refugee crisis driven home in harrowing images of drowned boy

A paramilitary police officer, sombre and grim-faced, retrieves the lifeless body of the boy
A paramilitary police officer, sombre and grim-faced, retrieves the lifeless body of the boy
A mother and her children who successfully crossed the water
A mother and her children who successfully crossed the water

The horror of the migrant and refugee crisis unfolding across many parts of Europe has been driven home by the images of a lifeless young boy discovered on the shores of a Turkish beach.

Warning: Article contains an image many may find distressing. We have taken the decision not to pixellate it, alongside many other publications, as we feel the true extent of the unfolding crises needs to be reported. 

Media outlets have published the images en masse, many making the decision to pixellate them, many not. 

The pictures were taken early this morning after boats carrying refugees to the Greek island of Kos capsized. 

At least 11 of them have died and five others are missing. The Dogan news agency said a boat carrying 16 people sank in international waters after leaving from the Turkish resort of Bodrum.

Seven of them drowned while four were rescued.

Hours later, a second boat carrying six people sank off the coast of Bodrum. A woman and three children drowned while two migrants in life vests made it to shore half-unconscious, the report said.

The route between Bodrum and Kos is one of the shortest from Turkey to the Greek islands. Thousands of migrants are attempting the perilous sea crossing despite the risks. are attempting the perilous sea crossing despite the risks.

The distressing images of the drowned boy illustrate the unimaginable risks refugees face trying to reach Europe. They have died in their thousands attempting to land on European shores. 

In the pictures a paramilitary police officer, grim-faced and sombre, retrieves the lifeless body of the young boy from the shores of the beach. He is wearing a red t-shirt and blue shorts, and was found lying face down not too far from the resort of Bodrum. 

Reports suggest he was from a Kurdish family who were fleeing the Islamic State in Syria. 

They had departed Turkey in a bid to cross a stretch of water just five kilometres wide in an attempt to land at Kos. 

The latest in a harrowing series of migrant and refugee disasters comes amid news that Ireland is to extend its Mediterranean rescue mission until the end of November.

Irish vessels have recovered over 6,000 migrants while assisting the Italian authorities with humanitarian search and rescue operations.

The LE Samuel Beckett will replace the LE Niamh at the end of September and will deploy until November 30, dependent on the demands and requirements arising, defence minister Simon Coveney said.

He added: "I believe that we should continue to support Italy in a practical manner as far as possible and the Italian authorities have indicated that ongoing support is welcome.

"While our role in the Mediterranean is making an impact in the short term in terms of saving lives, longer-term solutions to address the migrant crisis are needed."

Last month the LE Niamh rescued 125 people from a large inflatable rib some 70 miles (115km) north-west of Tripoli.

Earlier, the ship's crew saved 367 people from drowning after a fishing vessel with some 600 people on board capsized north-west of Tripoli. The ship brought the rescued and 25 bodies to Sicily.

Mr Coveney said he will be meeting EU colleagues tomorrow in Luxembourg to discuss a range of issues including progress on the EU military mission in the Mediterranean (EUNAVFOR MED).

"A comprehensive approach is required to address this complex crisis with a view to developing longer-term solutions," he said.

The European Union has announced emergency talks on September 14 to deal with the worsening migration crisis.