Video: French Journalists Join Refugees on Smuggler Boat From Turkey to Greece

 French TV journalists joined a boat packed with some 60 refugees on a treacherous journey from the Turkish coast to the Greek island of Lesbos.

The video footage captured by journalists Franck Genauzeau and Giona Messina from France 2 television channel—who filmed the four-hour, 10 km journey—shows smugglers pack an aging boat full of Syrian and Iraqi refugees and nominate one as captain before disembarking and leaving the refugees to their fate. One of the smugglers is seen waving a pistol in the air.

The footage also shows the engine failing during the night, prompting the terrified refugees to pray for assistance. By a stroke of good fortune, a Greek fishing boat passes by on the choppy sea and is able to tow the boat in to Lesbos.

Crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece is a perilous journey for refugees seeking to get into Europe. AFP reported on Tuesday that at least 22 migrants drowned after their vessel sank, having set off from the southwestern Turkish town of Datca for the nearby Greek island of Kos.

The reporters undertook the journey, which embarked from Assos, on the Turkish coast north of Izmir, on Saturday September 12. Syrian and Iraqi refugees wearing orange life jackets, who said they had been waiting 24 hours, are crammed onto the motorised boat. A Syrian refugee is chosen by the smugglers to captain the boat. According to the reporters, the cost of the journey for the refugees is 2,000 euros ($2,260) per adult and 1,000 euros ($1,130) per child.

After setting the boat off, the smugglers disembark and swim to shore where they are congratulated by their colleagues. Some refugees who were left behind swim out to the boat and are hauled onboard by others.

As night falls, the engine begins to fail and the air is clouded with black smoke before cutting out completely, leaving the refugees stranded in between Turkey and Greece. The refugees blow whistles and shine lights from their phones in a desperate bid to attract attention. Eventually, a tiny Greek fishing boat passes by the refugees and throws them a rope and taking them into harbour. The refugees cry and shiver in the cold as they disembark, with one saying "Thank you, Greece."

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an estimated 20,000 refugees were registered in the Greek islands between September 11 and September 13. Since Saturday, some 72 refugees have perished attempting to cross from Turkey into Greece. More than 430,000 refugees have arrived in Europe by sea so far in 2015, with 70 percent of these being registered in Greece, the IOM reported recently.