Shipwreck in the Channel: the migrants had called for help

They had called for help. According to our information, which confirms the testimonies of survivors in interviews granted to the Kurdish media Rudaw, the migrants who were on board the boat which sank on November 24 in the English Channel called for help, in vain.

While a judicial investigation is underway, which must determine the identity of the victims, the involvement of smuggling networks and the circumstances of the tragedy, it appears that the migrants used their phones to call for help while their rubber dinghy was sinking. After clinging to what was still floating from their boat, they were finally dead, except for two of them.

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Until now, the authorities had only communicated on the fact that, on the afternoon of November 24, at around 2 p.m., a French fishing vessel had given the alert after seeing several castaways at sea, in the Strait of Pas-de-Calais. In French waters, but in close proximity to English waters.

It was this alert that triggered the arrival on site, under the authority of the Gris-Nez (Pas-de-Calais) Regional Operational Surveillance and Rescue Center (Cross), of several rescue means: a the national navy, a speedboat from the maritime gendarmerie, a canoe from the National Society for Rescue at Sea (SNSM) from Calais as well as a navy helicopter and another from the English rescue coordination center.

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A total of twenty-seven lifeless bodies were then recovered, including those of six women and a girl. Two survivors are recovered. A majority of the migrants on board were from Iraqi Kurdistan.

106 people saved that same day

Shortly after the tragedy, the only two survivors gave an interview to the Kurdish media in turn. Rudaw, in which they revealed that they had called for help. Thus, in a video released on November 29, Mohammed Shekha Ahmad, from Iraqi Kurdistan, explains: “We called the French police (…) then we sent our location to the French police and they told us: You are in English waters, call the English ”. We called the British. They told us to call the French. “

The next day, Mohammed Isa Omar, a survivor of Somali origin, in turn explains the circumstances of the sinking: “We sank in British waters, he said. We called for help and they told us to send our location. “ He explains that calls have been made for British and French help and indicates that he remained in the water for more than ten hours before being found by a fishing boat.

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Shipwreck in the Channel: the migrants had called for help