Egyptian fisherman says how he saved 23 Greeks and 4 dogs from fires in Mati

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Al Jazeera reports about the way an Egyptian fisherman who lived in Mati saved 23 persons and four dogs from the Wildfire which hit Greece.

“Mahmoud al-Sayed Mousa was relaxing on his couch when his phone rang at 6:30pm on July 23.

Wildfires had gripped the coastal village of Mati, and people were desperately wading into the sea to escape.

“Come quick,” said Kostas, his boss.

The 46-year-old Egyptian fisherman rushed out of his home and climbed onto his bicycle.

Within moments, he arrived at the port in Nea Makri, where they dock their fishing vessel. They set sail.

“We heard that 150 people were trapped between the fire and the sea,” he tells Al Jazeera.

Forceful waves swayed the boat. The wind carried the thick black smog out to sea, but they carried on, coughing more and more the closer they got to Mati’s shores.

Mousa adds how through the hazy fog, he heard the muffled cries of women and children. He covered his mouth and nose with a cloth to try and limit the fumes he was inhaling. They steered the boat into the dark, unsure of what to expect.

“We either bring them back with us or we die with them, God willing,” Mousa thought .

As the sound of people pleading for help grew closer, Mousa knotted a rope and flung it into the sea. Someone grabbed on. He pulled a man in and lifted him up onto the vessel.

Daylight was fading as the sun dipped behind the hills. They scoured the waters around them, locating and pulling up each person they found.

“We scooped them up like when we’re fishing,” Mousa remembers. “People were crying and shaking while they hugged us.”

By the time it was over, they had saved 23 Greeks and four dogs, he estimates.

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