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Five refugees died at sea as reporters filmed.

Photographer Alessio Paduano was embedded with the crew of the Sea-Watch 3 about 30 miles from the coast of Tripoli last week when they received a distress call from an inflatable boat with refugees on board.

Photographer Alessio Paduano was embedded with the crew of the Sea-Watch 3 about 30 miles from the coast of Tripoli last week when they received a distress call from an inflatable boat with refugees on board.

Sea Watch is a private German aid organization that operates three rescue boats in the Mediterranean.

Lisa Hoffmann / Sea-Watch / Via sea-watch.org

Sea Watch arrived at the scene at the same time as a Libyan patrol boat. A spokesperson for Sea Watch told The Daily Mail that the Libyans started beating and threatening the refugees as they were drowning.

Sea Watch arrived at the scene at the same time as a Libyan patrol boat. A spokesperson for Sea Watch told The Daily Mail that the Libyans started beating and threatening the refugees as they were drowning.

Alessio Paduano / AFP / Getty Images

That’s when Paduano started taking these harrowing photos.

That's when Paduano started taking these harrowing photos.

“As I took this picture, I could hear how his breath was interrupted by the water flowing into his mouth. I still have the sound of that breath in my head,” Paduano told the BBC. “It was a strong emotional moment but fortunately after a while our rescue raft approached him, now almost drowned, and the crew of Sea-Watch 3, with no small effort, was able to pull him out of the sea.”

Alessio Paduano / AFP / Getty Images

Rescuers and photographers watched as refugees began falling overboard as the patrol boat tried to leave with people still clinging to its sides.

Rescuers and photographers watched as refugees began falling overboard as the patrol boat tried to leave with people still clinging to its sides.

Alessio Paduano / AFP / Getty Images

A helicopter from the Italian navy had to step in to calm the situation down.

A helicopter from the Italian navy had to step in to calm the situation down.

Giovanni Isolino / AFP / Getty Images

Among the victims was a small child who could not be resuscitated.

Among the victims was a small child who could not be resuscitated.

Lisa Hoffmann / Sea-Watch / Via sea-watch.org

“Nobody would have had to die today if only we had the possibility to operate reasonably in a calm environment,” the Sea Watch spokesperson told the Daily Mail.

"Nobody would have had to die today if only we had the possibility to operate reasonably in a calm environment," the Sea Watch spokesperson told the Daily Mail.

Alessio Paduano / AFP / Getty Images

In videos from the rescue operation, you can see and hear Libyan soldiers beat the refugees with ropes, push them from the boat, or let them hang on the outside of the ship without any rescue attempts.

youtube.com

This post was translated from German.

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