Francesca Matina, a 31-year-old woman from Lampedusa who works in marketing in Palermo, recently had a terrifying yet rewarding experience. Yesterday evening, she and a friend jumped into the sea at Tabaccara, a rocky cliff in Lampedusa, and managed to rescue four out of the 48 shipwrecked migrants who had crashed against the rocks.
“I was on a boat with my uncles Giacomo and Felicetta and my friend Gonzalo,” Francesca recounts. “We were about to head back and had already started getting dressed when we saw this small boat crashing into the rocks. Without hesitation, Gonzalo and I jumped into the water with life jackets. It was a moment of terror, but we couldn’t let those people who were screaming and asking for help die.”
Meanwhile, Francesca’s uncles caught the attention of a smaller motorboat that was able to approach the shipwrecked migrants, who immediately clung to the boat. “It was a moment of great chaos,” explains Francesca. “We alerted the Coast Guard, and in the end, all 48 shipwrecked migrants, including three children, were saved.”
“Helping others is part of our nature,” she continues. “We Lampedusans have it in our blood. But today, I feel panic and anger. People cannot be welcomed in this way, crammed onto Coast Guard boats, dehydrated, suffering, and destroyed by their journey. The truth is that we have always been alone in welcoming migrants fleeing their countries, left without help and abandoned by Europe.”
Francesca recounts the details of the rescue without exaggeration. “We are not heroes,” she emphasizes. “We are just human beings who tried to save other human beings in distress. And this time, it went well.”
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