• Gretel Killeen and Steve prepare to depart from Ayvalik, Turkey (SBS )
Gretel and Steve embark on one of the deadliest journeys a refugee can take.
By
Staff writers

3 Oct 2018 - 10:29 PM  UPDATED 3 Oct 2018 - 11:01 PM

It's a journey that only 1 in 18 migrants survive. The perilous Mediterranean sea crossing is being re-enacted on  SBS's Go Back to Where You Came From Live to give participants Gretel Killeen and Steve a first-hand experience of the risks desperate people are prepared to take. 

In episode two, audiences saw the pair depart from the Ayvalik beach on the northwestern Aegean coast of Turkey, headed for the Greek island of Lesvos in a simple wooden fishing boat. 

It's a journey that many migrants have traced, often with tragic results. Rough seas and overcrowded unseaworthy vessels have meant that an estimated 13,500 people have died trying to make their way from Turkey, Africa and the Middle East over to Europe since 2015.

Steve, a former prison guard from Adelaide who holds strong anti-refugee views and who thinks Australia’s 'stop the boats' policy is effective, expressed his qualms before embarking the vessel with Killeen. 

"You know, this can go wrong...it's scary,'' he said.

"We've got - I've got a young child. I don't even want my son to see this part of it, let alone, even consider going on a journey like this."

The program had previously featured Killeen's interview with Tima Kurdi, the aunt of Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi, who drowned along with his mother and brother in an attempt to find safe refuge. 

Tima had described how she was still wracked with guilt for financing the voyage and encouraging the family to flee in the hope of a better life. 

"Well, we've just met a lady that's still suffering from this decision. You know, it's desperate times. Obviously, the intention was good, but, you know, now she's suffering, the family's suffering," Steve said. 

For every 18 people crossing to Europe over the central Mediterranean between January and July 2018, one person died, according to a report by the UN refugee agency

A perilous journey: How many asylum seekers never make it to their destination
The Central Mediterranean remains by far the deadliest route for asylum seekers.

According to the Missing Migrants Project, which counts deaths of migrants, the Central Mediterranean remains by far the deadliest route. 

Records from this year show that, by far, presumed drowning and confirmed drowning are the number one and two causes of all migrant deaths, at 886 and 757 respectively. 

At the height of the refugee crisis in 2015, more than 1 million asylum seekers reached Europe by sea according to the UNHCR, nearly half of them from Syria.

More than 3700 people died en route.

Go Back to Where You Came From Live sees a group of eight Australians going into overseas war zones, all in the hopes of gaining first-hand experience of the global refugee crisis. 

Other participants include former senator Jacqui Lambie, ex-AFL player Spida Everitt, and comedian Meshel Laurie. 

 'Go Back To Where You Came From Live' airs over three consecutive nights, October 2 – 4, 8.30pm, LIVE on SBS Australia and streaming live at SBS On Demand. Join the conversation #GoBackLive

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