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Refugee Crisis: Woman On Same Boat As Alan Kurdi Claims Drowned Toddler's Father Is A People Smuggler

11/09/2015 19:58 BST | Updated 11/09/2015 19:59 BST
ASSOCIATED PRESS
Abdullah Kurdi, 40, father of Syrian boys Aylan, 3, and Galip, 5, who were washed up drowned on a beach near Turkish resort of Bodrum on Wednesday, waits for the delivery of their bodies outside a morgue in Mugla, Turkey, Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015.(AP Photo/Mehmet Can Meral)

Warning: story and video contain graphic content

A woman who was on the boat carrying drowned Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi claimed on Friday that the boy's father was a people smuggler.

Australian broadcaster Channel Ten has reported that Zainab Abbas, who lost her two children in the same tragedy, claimed Abdullah Kurdi was navigating the boat at the moment it capsized off the Turkish coast last month.

"He was a smuggler, yes," she said, speaking from Iraq over Skype. "He was the one that was driving the boat."

Abbas claims Kurdi was speeding just before the boat capsized and pleaded with her while they were still both bobbing in the water, not to "dob me in".

The father, who lost his wife and two children in the incident that made headlines across the world, strongly denies the allegations, telling The Wall Street Journal that the boat's Turkish captain jumped into the water shortly after the engine stalled.

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A Turkish gendarmerie soldier moves the body of Aylan Kurdi

"I lost my family, I lost my life, I lost everything, so let them say whatever they want," he told the paper.

Abbas says she met Kurdi and another, unidentified man in a café and was told by the pair to hand over $10,000 to get her family smuggled to Europe.

The boat was safe to make the dangerous journey, she claims to have been told.

"[The other man] said, 'Don't worry, the captain of the boat, the driver, is going to bring his two kids and his wife'," Abbas said.

Her husband had pleaded with Kurdi to slow down, but the man refused to listen, she claimed.

Thrust into the ocean in the dead of night when their boat overturned, Abbas said she and her husband and daughter held on to a life jacket, but could not find to save her other two children, a boy and girl. They both drowned, along with Alan and his brother Galip.

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Aylan Kurdi (left) and his older brother Galip (right), who perished in the sea

"I was screaming, calling out for them, but there wasn't anyone replying," she recounted.

"They were my life, I have no life now. Right now I can't believe they are gone."

Abbas said that Kurdi's claim a Turkish man had pioneered the boat, was a lie.

"I've lost my kids, I've lost my life, how can he lie to the media?" she asked.

Abbas is now calling on Tony Abbott, the Australian Prime Minister, to grant the members of her family who survived the horrific ordeal asylum so they could escape murderous Islamic State militants.

"I beg the Australian government to do something for me," she pleased.

Kurdi has spoken out about the incident, repeatedly telling journalists that the boat began filling with water somewhere between Turkey and Greece.

He maintains that the boat's captain panicked due to high waves, fleeing the boat and jumping into the sea, leaving him in control of the small raft.

"I took over and started steering," he has said. "The waves were so high and the boat flipped."

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