"Santi Palacios, an independent Spanish photojournalist on assignment for the Associated Press, was embedded with Proactiva Open Arms, a Spanish rescue group begun by volunteer lifeguards who responded to the historic influx of asylum-seekers on the shores of Greece two years ago. With rough seas early on July 25, Palacios thought it could be a quiet day. But close to 11 a.m., a call came in about a dire situation 12 miles away. The vessel, named Open Arms, dispatched two speed boats that raced to the scene.
“We could very easily see that something was wrong, that something was not normal,” Palacios told TIME in the hours after the scene unfolded. The rescuers attempted to bring calm and distributed life jackets before disembarkation could begin. “It wasn’t until we took these four kids with us on our speed boat—and one woman to take care of them—that we really started hearing there were bodies inside.”
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