May 19, 2015
RHODES, Greece (CNS) — When a wooden sailboat carrying some 100 refugees capsized in the crystal clear waters of this tiny paradise-like Greek island, local fisherman and the Greek coast guard immediately went to their rescue.
While only three drowned in the April incident, 30 had to be taken to the hospital, where Franciscan Father John Luke Gregory, Santa Maria Parish priest and a native of Sheffield, England, is often called on for help because of his knowledge of Arabic.
“The boat capsized and they panicked, the water is not as deep or as rough as (in other places) but if you can’t get to the coast and don’t know how to swim it can be dangerous,” said Father Gregory. “The traffickers do a very lucrative business. The numbers of refugees who are arriving here has grown enormously since I came here in 2004.”