Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Friday 22 September |
Saint of the Day: St. Sadalberga
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Teen saves baby from drowning: Best of humanity comes out in worst situations, says cardinal

Migrants from Libya

Hamza Turkia / NurPhoto

Kathleen N. Hattrup - published on 07/13/22

In the midst of so much tragedy, Barcelona's cardinal shares this "beautiful bit of news."

A 17-year-old boy from Togo managed to save a 4-month-old infant from drowning by swimming with the baby on his back, when a vessel carrying them capsized off the coast of Libya.

“A beautiful bit of news in the midst of the drama of the immigrants who cross the Mediterranean,” tweeted Cardinal Juan José Omella, archbishop of Barcelona, Spain. “Human goodness comes out in the worst situations.”

The boy was accompanied by six friends. It’s not clear if they had, like him, already managed to cross from the south of Western Africa only to shipwreck in the sea. In any case, he was unable to save any of them.

Desperate rescue

A photojournalist, Michael Bunel, captured the impressive rescue of the infant.

Bunel was on board a rescue vessel run by Doctors Without Borders when an alert call came in. It was June 27. The rescue vessel sped to the last reported occasion as quickly as it could, arriving in about two hours. Rescue workers searched in the sun until they spotted survivors.

According to Cope, the boy saved more children than just the infant pictured, but he was unable to help any of his friends. As well, the teen reported, one of the children he tried to help was already dead.


Doctors Without Borders were able to rescue 71 people, but calculate that 30 more disappeared. Among the dead was a pregnant woman and her child; medical workers were unable to resuscitate her.

Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Daily prayer
And today we celebrate...

Entrust your prayer intentions to our network of monasteries

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.