Migrant tragedy: What do we know about the people who died in the Channel?

‘I don’t know if we are going to make it’, one man making the crossing told his friend before he disappeared

Holly Bancroft
Friday 26 November 2021 14:52
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<p>French police pass a deflated dighy on the beach in Wimereux near Calais </p>

French police pass a deflated dighy on the beach in Wimereux near Calais

The husband of an Iraqi-Kurdish woman said he fears she might be among the 27 people who died in the Channel tragedy.

The husband of Maryam Nuri, who did not want to give his name, said that he was tracking his wife via GPS when her signal suddenly disappeared four hours into her journey on Wednesday. He is a Kurdish immigrant living in the UK and his wife was making the perilous trip to join him.

He told The Telegraph that his wife had said she was in a dinghy with around 30 people, including Afghan nationals, other Kurdish women, and a girl who was no older than nine.

He said: “She is not in the UK, which means that she is gone. It is very sad for me, and for everyone. I had continuous contact with my wife and I was tracking her live GPS.

“I think they were in the middle of the sea, then I lost her.”

He had called the people smugglers who arranged the journey but they told him that they had not been able to contact anyone on board: “I am in a very bad state,” he added.

French police have not yet revealed the identities of the 27 people who died in the Channel on Wednesday night.

It may take some weeks to identify them as many people who make the crossing do not carry ID documents with them on the journey. This reportedly makes it harder for their bodies to be repatriated from UK shores.

Prosecutors have said that among the dead were 17 men, seven women and three children.

Calais Mayor Natacha Bouchart said that one of the women was pregnant, and one of the children was a “little girl”.

In the camps in Dunkirk, France, people who have not heard from friends since Wednesday are worried that they might be among the 27 dead.

Peshraw Aziz is scared that his friend Mohammad Aziz, 32, might be one of those who drowned.

He told the Daily Mail that Mohammad had phoned him while on his dinghy to say: “It’s not good enough, the engine isn’t powerful enough - I don’t know if we’re going to make it.”

Peshraw Aziz continued: “Mohammed decided to try his luck. But he phoned me in a panic and confessed that he wondered if he had made the right decision.

“He told me that ‘it’s not good’, he thought the engine was not powerful enough, and was worried that the boat might sink, ‘I don’t know if we’re going to make it’. That was the last time I heard from him.”

A man who gave his name only as Hassan told The Times that three boats had gone out into the Channel that evening. He said: “One went and then 30 minutes later another and then 30 minutes another. One came back. One sunk, the other is missing.

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