Abdullah Kurdi, the father of the three-year drowned Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi, who was washed up on a Turkish beach after a smuggling vessel capsized, was accused of being the captain of the doomed boat trip from Turkey to Greece, the Daily Telegraph reports.
An Iraqi woman by the name of Zainab Abbas, who says she lost two children after the boat tipped over in the rough waters, told an Australian news outlet that she paid $10,000 for the trip and that Kurdi was the captain of the ship.
“He was a smuggler, yes, he was the one driving the boat,” she said, adding that he was “going crazy, like speed.”
Kurdi denied he was captain of the vessel last week. “I lost my family, I lost my life, I lost everything, so let them say whatever they want,” he told the Wall Street Journal.
The Turkish authorities charged four men over the incident, but Kurdi was not one of them.
“He was the one driving the boat right from the start. When they set off five minutes in he was looking left and right, worried, then he was speeding. Even his wife was screaming at him to slow down,” she said.
President Barack Obama announced the U.S. take in 10,000 Syrian refugees this year. Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain displayed on the floor of the Senate Wednesday a now-famous photo of Kurdi’s deceased son’s body on the beach, in an effort to urge the United States to take in more Syrian refugees.
When asked by The Daily Caller Thursday night if he was aware the purpose of the Kurdi family’s trip was for the father’s dental care, McCain responded, “no comment!”