The child, aged around four, was propelled into the ocean by strong currents in the Gulf of Corinth off Antirrio in western Greece, local media report.
When her parents realized she had drifted out of sight, they contacted port officials, who in turn contacted the captain of a local ferry on the Rio-Antirrio route.
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Video taken by one of the ship’s passengers shows the incredible moment the girl, floating on top of the huge rubber ring, comes into view.
“I was approaching the port of Antirio and was informed by the port authority that a child, whom I did not expect to be so small, had been washed away by the currents on a nearby beach, near the harbor quay, ”Captain Grigoris Karnesis told the Greek city hours.
“She was frozen with fear, for the current was very strong. I put the boat in such a position so as not to affect the small inflatable.
“I placed it in such a way that the ship would not be affected by the ripples, because if the inflatable sank we would have serious problems.
“We approached slowly and were able to save the child.”
Footage shows the ferry cautiously approaching the girl, until they are close enough that a man in the back of the ship can search and pick her up.
The rescue “went well,” said Captain Karnesis.
This is not the first time that something like this has happened.
Last summer, two five-year-olds were blown out to sea on an inflatable swan after being caught in a gust of wind.
While a grandmother was swept away on an iceberg afterwards by a big wave while posing for photos.