"I'm more concerned about the lives I could save than what could happen to me"
The arrest of three firemen from Seville, who were accused of people trafficking offences while working on Lesbos, will not perturb the team from Marbella travelling to the Greek island next month to help with efforts in the refugee crisis unfolding there.
The colleagues from the Parque de Marbella station will relieve the fourth team of the volunteer assocation Proem-Aid from 1 to 15 February.
On Monday, they received a visit from members of the ONGto brief them about what they can expect.
Many of the men will be using their holidays for the expedition and paying for flights and expenses out of their own pockets.
However, for Manuel Lavigne, this is not so important: “I’m much more concerned about the lives I could save than what might happen to me.”
The firemen will be supporting the work carried out by the Greek coastguard and will be on hand to help whenever necessary.
The main concern is for migrants fleeing Syria who have fallen into the hands of Turkish mafia that is charging up to 1,000 euros per person for access to overcrowded and extremely dangerous boats destined for Europe.
The route itself from Turkey is not particularly troublesome, but rather the conditions the travellers are subjected to.
“This is a huge business and is a humanitarian crisis of enormous magnitude,” added Lavigne who was also part of the rescue effort for the 2003 plane crash in Madeira in which nine ‘malagueños’ were victims.
José Pastor from Proem-Aid conluded: “We are doing very dangerous work, but when we see boats with women, children and disabled people... the only thing you can think about is saving them.”
This is why the three accused firemen returning from Lesbos received such a warm welcome upon their return to Seville airport on Tuesday night. Around 100 supporters gathered with signs displaying messages such as ‘No to war’ and chanting “héroes”. Despite their ordeal, one of the Seville firemen José Enrique Rodríguez said that they were “well, but tired” and they were happy in the knowledge that they had “helped a lot of people”.source surinenglish