migranti tutrska
Photograph: EPA/FILIP SINGER

A 2-year-old Syrian boy became the first sea migrant casualty of 2016, while 10 other asylum seekers were injured during their sea crossing, the NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station said on Saturday.

Khalid, a Syrian boy who was travelling to Greece with his mother, died when the rubber raft he was on was slammed against the rocks on the Aegean island of Nera.

The boy's body was pulled out of the water by fishermen, while the remaining 35 people on board the dinghy made it out alive, some just barely.

MOAS, a Malta-based migrant rescue NGO, which has recently started operating off Greece, said the migrants endured five hours in heavy seas only to end up shipwrecked upon jagged rocks.

A 3-month-old infant boy was severely hypothermic, but was stabilized. 

"Nothing can prepare you for the horrific reality of what is going on. Today we came face-to-face with one of the youngest victims of this ongoing refugee crisis. It is a tragic reminder of the thousands of people who have died trying to reach safety in miserable conditions," said MOAS founder Christopher Catrambone.

Some 3,770 migrants died in 2015, making it the deadliest year on record for migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean. 

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