The four-year-old girl was about half a mile from a beach and holding on for her life when she was rescued by hero ferry captain Grigoris Karnesis and his crew in the Gulf of Corith in Greece.
The captain who rescued the little girl who drifted out to sea on an inflatable unicorn said she was ‘frozen from fear’.
Grigoris Karnesi and his crew spotted the little girl sat atop the floating inflatable after she was swept out to sea.
The little girl had been at the beach in the Greek town of Antirrio in the Gulf of Corith with her family when a powerful current carried her away – she was eventually rescued about half a mile from the shore.
Footage showed her looking fairly calm about the whole situation, but the captain has now said that wasn’t the case and that she was actually terrified.
Karnesis told Protothema: “The little one was not calm. She was frozen from her fear because the current was very strong.”
Karnesis, who captains a local ferry called Salaminomachos, said after spotting the girl on the inflatable he put the ferry into position so she could be pulled aboard.
He told the Greek City Times: “I put the ship in such a position so as not to affect the small inflatable. I placed it in such a way that the ship was not affected by ripples, because if the inflatable sank we would have serious problems.
“We approached it slowly and we were able to rescue the child.”
He went on to say that the scared little girl didn’t speak but did ‘scream’ when the ship started to approach her.
Karnesis said he and the crew then made funny faces and attempted to crack jokes to try and calm her down.
He added: “Fortunately, everything went well.”
With the little girl safely out of the water, she was taken back to her parents who had already raised the alarm with the port authorities.
Karnesis and his crew have been hailed as heroes after footage of the rescue was shared online.
He even received a phone call from the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, who congratulated the captain and the team.
Believe it or not, people on inflatables drifting out to sea isn’t entirely uncommon.
Stuart Penfold, RNLI Lead Lifeguard Supervisor from Pembrokeshire, spoke to The News recently about the calls the organisation generally receives as the weather warms up.
He said: “Most incidents involve rescues, surfers and body boarders getting into trouble. Paddle-boarders have been a common new theme – people go out and don’t realise they can get into trouble.
“The beaches we work on can have up to 5,000 people there, it can be anything dealing with people who have had too much to drink or have spent too much time in the sun.
“It can be stuff like people being in the water and getting over confident, things like stag dos going out into the sea on inflatable dinghies and swans.”