A young boy has died after falling overboard from a passenger ferry in the Baltic Sea.
His mother was also killed trying desperately to save her seven-year-old son when the ferry from Sweden to Poland was going.
The tragedy happened on Thursday when the child fell from the ship and his mother jumped overboard during a rescue attempt, authorities said.
A huge search and rescue operation was launched and ships and helicopters from Sweden and NATO units in the region helped with the rescue.
The couple – both from Poland – were later found, hoisted onto a helicopter and taken to Karlskrona Hospital in Sweden.
Anders Olsson, who was on board the rescue helicopter that retrieved the woman from the sea, told Swedish radio today that the mother was unresponsive and she was given first aid.
“First we got the message that one person had fallen overboard, then it turned out that there were two,” said Lars Blom, head of rescue operations at the Swedish Maritime Administration’s rescue center.
Today the Polish police announced that both had died.
“Unfortunately, in the morning we received information from the Swedish side that we have to pass this terrible news on to the family, since both the boy and the woman are dead,” said police spokesman Mariusz Ciarka.
The Swedish ferry Stena Spirit was in the middle of its journey from Karlskrona in Sweden to Gdynia in Poland in the Baltic Sea when the incident happened.
What caused the incident remains unknown.
“At this point in time, we have no information as to whether this was due to a ferry disruption,” Stena Line spokeswoman Agnieszka Zembrzycka told TVN24.
“We are working with the police and other authorities tasked with investigating the causes and circumstances of this event.”
Swedish police have appealed to Polish passengers for information that could explain how the incident happened.