Migrants killed when boat capsized trying to reach UK ‘were 4 members of same family’ as search continues for their baby

1 month ago 6

FOUR members of a Kurdish-Iranian family tragically drowned after their boat capsized in the Channel yesterday, it has been reported.

The family's 15-month--old baby boy named Artin is missing and is feared to have died as well.

A Kurdish-Iranian family died while trying to cross the Channel in a boat yesterday

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A Kurdish-Iranian family died while trying to cross the Channel in a boat yesterdayCredit: Hengaw Organization for Human Rights

Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, Anita, aged nine, and Armin, six, were all killed while trying to make the dangerous crossing from France to the UK yesterday, the BBC reports.

The family were from the city of Sardasht in western Iran, near the Iraqi border, the report says.

A friend of the Iranians told the BBC that the family left Iran on August 7 for Turkey and the took a ferry to Italy before driving to France around four weeks ago.

They paid £7,200 to smugglers to make the dangerous crossing to the UK.

Rasoul's brother in Sardasht told the news outlet that his sibling sold everything in a bid to give his family a better future.

The Kurdish region in Iran is impoverished and residents face political persecution.

Fifteen other migrants who were on the same boat were rescued and taken to hospital.

The boat attempted to take the journey - which claimed three lives earlier this year - during high winds and choppy waters.

A huge rescue operation has resumed this morning to find the body of baby Artin.

Yesterday, a chilling Mayday radio plea, received from a small fishing boat just a few miles off the French coast, begged: “Help us, we’re sinking!”

Their overcrowded ‘day fishing dinghy’ sank at around 9.30am in “very bad weather conditions including high wind and rain,” said local official Hervé Tourmente.

All those involved were Iranian Kurds who were on the last stage of their journey to claim asylum in the UK.

All are believed to have been staying in the Calais area before heading off to try and get to England in the early hours of yesterday.

Four migrants have died in the Channel after their boat capsized

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Four migrants have died in the Channel after their boat capsizedCredit: AFP or licensors

As a search-and-rescue operation resumed today, French police were trying to find suspected people smugglers responsible for launching the small boat in dangerous conditions.

Sébastien Piève, the Dunkirk prosecutor, said a criminal enquiry was focusing on suspected manslaughter, causing injuries and “assisting people in an irregular situation.”

Mr Piève said no suspects had yet been caught, but seven survivors were in custody “for questioning” over possible connections with a people smuggling gang.

They charge up to £1000 a head for a place in a small boat to get to the UK in a trade that regularly causes death and injury.

The French authorities confirmed they were in touch with their British counterparts as part of the enquiry.

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