Rettungseinsatz Mittelmeer März 2021

[Eye of the photographer] “Had we not taken action, this woman might have died.”

“At first, this picture may seem less informative than the previous “Eye of the photographer” texts I wrote, but it means a lot to me. I was on one of the RHIBs (Easy 2), very close to the unfolding rescue. It was a complex operation. We had to evacuate to our lifeboat a woman who lost consciousness, before our eyes, after more than 11 hours at sea.

It is this woman that you see in the centre of the picture. My first mission is to take pictures, but you also have to know how to put your camera down when the rescue team needs help. It was a very powerful moment. When we brought this woman aboard our rescue boat, her eyes were rolled upwards. She was unresponsive. I spread the soft stretcher on the floor of our boat and with Viviana, we gently laid her down. I immediately noticed that she was breathing, I took her pulse, and I felt on my fingertip, on her jugular, that she still had a heartbeat.

We put her in recovery position until we reached the Ocean Viking’s ladder, where we lifted her safely onboard the ship. She is now healthy. It was amazing for me to find this image while editing my photos. It’s as if this wave was coming for this woman, catching her and swallowing her up. Had we not taken action, this woman might have died. We are sailing on a graveyard.”

Picture and text: Anthony Jean
Anthony Jean accompanied our operation from 10 March to 8 April and documented them as a photographer.