7 Sep 2015

'And I realised they were all dead'

10:16 am on 7 September 2015

The father of the young Syrian boy whose drowned body was photographed washed up on a Turkish beach has spoken of his desolation.

"We went into the sea for four minutes, and then the captain saw that the waves were high so he steered the boat and we were hit immediately... I took over and started steering and the boat flipped over.

"I took my wife and my children in my arms, and I realised they were all dead.

Abdullah Kurdi lost both his sons and his wife when their boat overturned in high waves while heading to the Greek island of Kos.

An image of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi face down in the sand swept social and mainstream media to become the human face of the migrant tragedy.

A Turkish police officer carries the 3-year-old's dead body off the beach in Bodrum, southern Turkey.

A Turkish police officer carries a child's dead body off the shores in Bodrum, southern Turkey. Photo: AFP

The Kurdi family was trying to reach Canada to reunite with Abdullah's sister Teema but their asylum applications had been denied.

Canada's Conservative Government has come under fire from the news that the family were trying to emigrate there.

The news has sparked outrage at the perceived inaction of developed nations and rattled Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's re-election bid.

The boy's aunt, Vancouver resident Tima Kurdi, said she hoped to bring Abdullah and his family to Canada, but had first tried unsuccessfully to sponsor another brother, currently in Germany.

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