Pictured: First victim of Channel tragedy that killed 27 migrants is confirmed as Kurdish student, 21, from northern Iraq who lost contact with her husband in middle of sea
The first picture of one of the victims of Wednesday’s tragedy in the Channel – a 21-year-old Kurdish student who lost contact with her husband in the middle of the sea – has emerged.
Baran Nouri Hamadami, from northern Iraq, was among the 27 who drowned in the disaster off the coast of Calais earlier this week, the Telegraph reports.
Her husband had previously told how he tried to track her journey from France to the UK before the signal suddenly dropped in the middle of the sea.
He’d said earlier: ‘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. After four hours and 18 minutes from the moment she went into that boat, I think they were in the middle of the sea, then I lost her.’
Investigators from the both sides of the Channel are now understood to be piecing together the movements of Mrs Nouri – also known as Maryam – in the days before the tragedy.
It comes after a friend of two migrants feared to be among 27 drowned in Wednesday’s Channel tragedy told MailOnline today that one of them phoned him just before setting off to say that they had been forced on to the ‘flimsy, overcrowded’ dinghy by armed people traffickers.
Best friends Shakar Ali, 25, and Harem Pirot, 23, who grew up as neighbours in Iraq and set off together to find a new life in the UK are believed to have been on board the dinghy that sank off Calais.
Their friend Sanger Ahmed, 33, said they phoned him just before setting off from France on Wednesday morning and they sounded terrified, telling him too many people were on the boat.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline in the Grand-Synthe camp in Calais, Sanger said: ‘I last spoke to them early in the morning two days ago. They called me because they were just about to get on a boat.
‘They were worried that it was overloaded and dangerous. They thought there was too many people for such a tiny boat.
‘It may have been that they were forced to get on board. I have heard stories about smugglers with guns making people get on board if they try and back out at the last minute. They are brutal people’. He added: ‘I have not seen them since and they have not responded to messages. I have been texting them and sending messages on Facebook – but there is no answer. People say they may have died.
27 people died – including three children – died on Wednesday when their ‘flimsy’ dinghy deflated in seas nowhere near as rough as predicted over the coming 48 hours due to Storm Arwen. There are fears migrants could be forced to cross anyway amid reports one man was shot in the knee when he refused to cross after the deathtrap rib went down. Other migrants also claimed to have been forced on to boats at gunpoint.
Riaz Mohammed, 12, his relative Share Mohammed, 17, and two other teenagers, Palowan, 16, and Shinai, 15, were among those attempting the perilous crossing that day. Friends who were unable to contact them yesterday said they were worried they were among the dead. Maryan Nuri, from Ranya in northern Iraq, told her husband, who is in the UK, she was travelling in a boat with around 30 other people but never arrived.
An Iraqi Kurd called Karwan, 42, who once lived in the UK for seven years working in a Bury St Edmunds Pizza Express, said his friend Karim, 31, who shared a tent with him at the camp was also missing.
Karwan said: ‘He was the best guy and a good friend. He invited me to sleep in his tent with him when I had nowhere to go. He wanted to get to the UK. I think he tried two or three times, but there were problems with boats and he came back. Now this time he has not come back.’
It came as Storm Arwen began to tear through the Channel today raising fears more migrants will die if they try to cross from France to Britain as MPs demanded Emmanuel Macron swamps beaches with police to prevent any boats setting off in the high winds.
Gusts of up to 75mph in the Channel and big waves are expected along Britain’s coast as the first named storm of the season brings gales, rain and snow through today and tomorrow. As the winds picked up through the day, it appears people traffickers put off sending out boats.
The flimsy and dangerous dinghy that sank off Calais on Wednesday, killing 27 people including seven women – one of whom was pregnant – and three children
Karwan said he had lived for seven years in Cambridge and worked as a chef at Pizza Express in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, before returning to Iraq in 2006 following the fall of Saddam Hussein.
He added: ‘I had a nice life in Cambridge, but I wanted to go back to my own country. I thought it would be a good place to live after Saddam went.
‘But my country turned out to be so stupid. Every night they shoot someone. There is no nice life. Now I want to go back to England.’
Sanger Ahmed, 23, who also comes from the town of Ranya in Kurdistan, said he had no way of knowing for sure if his friends were on the boat which sank or another which made the crossing.
‘They tried to get on a boat many times before because they wanted to get to England. They were in this camp and now they have gone. It looks like they were on the boat, but I am not sure. What has happened is just terrible. They just wanted a better life.’
Sanger said he had arranged to meet the pair in Istanbul, Turkey, after they separately left their home town.
He added: ‘They moved to Italy by boat and I came through Belarus. Then we met up again here. They had been here about a month. I have known them all my life because they were neighbours.’
Sanger named three other victims of the disaster as Iraqi Kurds called Twana, 20, and Hassan, 25, and an Iranian Kurd called Sirwan, 25, who had all been staying at the Gran-Synthe camp.
Others at the camp named another victim as an Iraqi Kurd called Hever who was aged in his 20s and was also desperate to get to the UK.
An Iranian Kurd called Mohammed Pirot, 19, said he also feared that his Iranian friend Zanyar, 20, was on the doomed boat.
‘I am very worried for him, but I can do nothing. I am sad for him.’
Another Iraqi Kurd at the camp said: ‘I have heard of an 18-year-old boy here who is worried that he lost his father and brother on the boat.
‘He has travelled today to Lille where the bodies are being kept because he wants to try and identify them.
‘He has been going around asking everybody if they have seen his family.’
Maryan Nuri, from Ranya in northern Iraq, told her husband she was travelling in a boat with around 30 other people.
Her husband, a Kurdish immigrant living in the UK who did not want to be named, spoke of how he had been tracking his wife’s journey to join him before her signal suddenly disappeared in the middle of the sea.
‘She is not in the UK, which means that she is gone. It is very sad for me, and for everyone,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
‘I had continuous contact with my wife and I was tracking her on live GPS. After four hours and 18 minutes from the moment she went into that boat, I think they were in the middle of the sea, then I lost her. I am in a very bad state.’
Mohammad Aziz, 31, has not been heard of since his frantic call in the Channel to a fellow Iraqi Kurd, Peshraw Aziz. He told the Daily Mail last night from his camp in Calais: ‘He was panicking the boat might sink.’
Five of the people who died in Wednesday’s tragedy are feared to be young men from Afghanistan, who have failed to text their friends back in Calais and Dunkirk. Amid growing fears about the safety of winter crossings, it was claimed that a scared migrant was ‘kneecapped’ after he refused to board a boat hours after the dinghy went down.
Kent MP Craig Mackinlay said that with Storm Arwen set to blast 75mph winds towards France, Macron must ensure that nobody crosses today to avoid more deaths in the Channel. But despite the warning only small groups of police were seen on patrol near Calais.
He told MailOnline: ‘The French should be putting maximum on the ground resources across the 20 miles of high risk beaches north and south of Calais. Bad weather will push the traffickers to use the shortest possible route’.
Dover MP Natalie Elphicke said: ‘Conditions on the English Channel look set to become even more treacherous in the coming days. It’s urgent that France works with the UK and EU allies to stop more lives being lost. No-one should be making this kind of journey across a stormy sea. The French authorities should appeal for people to heed the weather forecast and stay where they are.’
Police search the dunes at Wimereux beaches near Bolougne from early this morning days after 27 migrants died heading to the UK as Storm Arwen threatens to take more lives if more people try to cross
Small police patrols on the beach at Wimereux as MPs demanded larger patrols to snuff out any chance of crossings
rom Mr Johnson ‘don’t correspond at all’ with discussions the leaders had on Wednesday. ‘We are sick of double-speak,’ he added.
It came as Emmanuel Macron went into meltdown at Boris Johnson today branding the PM ‘not serious’ for sending a public letter with demands for ending migrant tragedies in the Channel.
And French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told counterpart Priti Patel this morning that she is no longer welcome at the crisis meeting on Sunday, after UK condemnation of lax patrolling at French beaches where migrants are launching boats in a desperate bid to reach Britain.
The high winds brought to the UK by Storm Arwen are initially due to be in Scotland, but the northerly flow of weather will spread southwards across the Channel later.
Forecasters warn the storm could lead to travel disruption along with damage to buildings and power supplies. Large waves could also see material thrown on to coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.
MailOnline revealed yesterday that the gangs cramming people on to deathtrap dinghies are slashing to price by 500 euros per person to keep people crammed in.
Mohammad Aziz, 31, has not been heard of since his frantic call to a fellow Iraqi Kurd, Peshraw Aziz. He told the Daily Mail last night from his camp in Calais: ‘He was panicking the boat might sink.’
The two survivors of the tragedy were named on social media last night as Mohammed Khalid, from Kurdistan, and Omer, from Somalia.
The devastated husband of an Iraqi-Kurdish woman feared to be among the 27 migrants who drowned told of how her GPS signal abruptly disappeared as he was tracking her journey.
One friend showed a TikTok video filmed on Monday of Riaz and Share, from Jalalabad, wearing life jackets on the beach as they prepared for an earlier attempted voyage to England.
A pregnant woman was among the 27 who perished. Officials said the dead included 17 men, seven women, two boys and one girl.
Yesterday a lifeboat volunteer who helped pull six bodies from the sea on Wednesday likened the horrific scene to a disaster movie.
Charles Devos, who was one of the first to arrive, said: ‘It was a bit like the film Titanic when you saw all these people plunged into the water, drowning, with no means of being able to be rescued.
‘Unfortunately, we were only able to recover the dead people.’
He added: ‘I saw the blow-up boat had really deflated. Was it a valve that came loose or did it hit an object? I think it happened due to overloading.
‘Don’t forget, you think the sea is calm – the sea isn’t calm because it’s nearly always choppy.’
Mr Devos said: ‘We passed next to an inflatable boat that was completely deflated. What little air remained was keeping it afloat.
‘I don’t know if there were children, but we picked up [the body of] a pregnant woman and a young man who was around 18 or 20.’
The French coastguard released a harrowing recording of the Mayday call made after the dinghy was spotted floating empty seven miles off the coast of Calais.
A shocking photograph of the flimsy inflatable craft – described as barely more seaworthy than a child’s paddling pool – was taken by rescuers.
Freezing and windy conditions in France today amid fears more deaths are inevitable because of poor weather and winter storms
The only two survivors of the horror – an Iraqi and a Somalian – have reportedly told French police the dinghy was hit by a container ship that punctured its thin rubber hull and sank the vessel.
They were last night in intensive care in hospital suffering from hypothermia.
Last night, Mr Aziz told the Mail of his final conversation with his friend Mohammad an hour before the sinking.
The pair, both from the northern Iraqi town of Ranya, had met in a camp near Dunkirk as they waited to cross the Channel. They had both come into Europe via Belarus.
Mr Aziz, 30, said: ‘Mohammad 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.’
French authorities have not released the names of the victims and there is no confirmation of whether Mohammad Aziz is among the dead.
Officials were briefing yesterday that the boat had been carrying Kurds from northern Iraq along with migrants from Afghanistan and Iran. They had lived in camps, slept at Calais railway station and – the night before the crossing attempt – had hidden themselves near a canal.
At a grim, rubbish-strewn camp near Dunkirk, fellow Afghans told the Mail of their fears for their missing friends. Referring to Riaz and Share Mohammed, one said: ‘They tried to get across three days ago, then they tried again yesterday (Wednesday) – and we haven’t heard from them since.’
They said the missing youngsters had been in a party of up to 100 which set off in three inflatables. Again, there was no official confirmation as to whether their friends are among the victims, made it safely to the UK or were detained by the French.
One migrant in the camp, Hassan, 30, from Kabul, was refused asylum in Britain in July 2012 but is now trying to return. He said: ‘My friends Palowan and Shinai were on the same boat. They left me two messages the other day, one in the morning and one in the night, asking me to join them.’
He revealed Afghans described attempts to cross borders illegally as ‘The Game’, and said: ‘Shinai kept calling me saying, ‘Come on The Game’. I didn’t go.
‘I haven’t heard any more – and I think they’ve died. But I’m going to keep trying anyway. They had tried to cross many times. England is so close.’
Sources told the Mail how a female doctor was reduced to tears when confronted with the corpses laid out in a hangar at the Quai Paul depot in Calais.
None of the victims were said to be carrying passports or other documents – a tactic often used as it makes it harder to return migrants to their countries of origin.
Anna Richel, from French charity Utopia 56, which works closely with migrants in Dunkirk and Calais, said: ‘The migrants never cross the Channel with ID cards so it could take weeks to officially identify those who died.’
Migrants in Calais have told MailOnline that they are more determined than ever to reach the UK despite 27 people drowning crossing the Channel yesterday – as people traffickers slashed their prices to fill their deathtrap dinghies to Britain.
People claiming to be from Iran, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan say that the chance of settling in the UK is worth facing the danger of dying getting to Dover with one declaring: ‘We don’t have a life. We want to live like you in the UK’.
Those still willing to risk their lives in rough November seas revealed that their budget boats had also burst off the coast, but they were rescued from French waters before anyone drowned. Yesterday’s tragedy has seen smugglers slash 500 euros off the price of a one-way trip to Kent.
It came as the first picture of the doomed dinghy that deflated just off the coast of France emerged as French police again failed to stop 50 migrants crossing the Channel to Britain yesterday. 17 men, seven women – one of whom was pregnant – and three children died yesterday.
Five people have been arrested in France over the 27 deaths, including one man held overnight driving a German-registered vehicle packed with inflatable ribs, although there is ‘no provable link’ with the sinking, according to prosecutors, despite French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin insisting all were ‘directly linked’ to the drownings.
Thousands of migrants are in the Calais region hoping to get to the UK by Christmas, and speaking in France, a Kurdish computer programmer called Kochar, 25, told MailOnline: ‘It is not going to stop people from wanting to come to England. Everything in life is a risk, and it is worth a big risk to get to England’.
Another Iraqi Kurd called Aram, 41, said: ‘There are some people who will be put off if they think they are going to die, but most people have no choice. We have to try to get to England.
‘I will get on a boat some time. It might be this week or it might be next. I got a call from my friend who told me about the people who had died. I did not know any of them.’
The migrants told how heartless people traffickers have slashed their prices for a place in a boat across by 500 euros since news of the tragedy filtered through to people living in makeshift camps around Grandy-Synthe near Dunkirk.
Those hoping for a new life in the UK told MailOnline that the fare for a place in an open dinghy had been reduced from 2,500 euros to 2,000 euros.
Kochar said: ‘Last week it was costing 2,500 euros to get a place. But last night I heard it had been discounted by 500 euros. It looks like the price has come down because of these people who have died. The people smugglers are worried about losing business – so they want to give a better deal’.
Aram said: ‘I heard that the price had come down. You hear messages from everyone. I am glad it has happened. It is still far too expensive.’
He paid 2,500 euros to reach Germany from Kurdistan via the route through Belarus, and another 500 euros to get to France.
MailOnline spoke to another group of half a dozen Iraqi Kurdish migrants who told how they came close to death after their overcrowded inflatable boat sprung a leak in the Channel, and they were pitched into the freezing water
They said they had paid 2,500 euros each to be among 52 passengers crammed into a boat which left a beach near Dunkirk last Friday night.
The group who were standing in a bus shelter to escape the pouring rain outside an Auchan supermarket, said they had spent four hours motoring out to sea before disaster struck in the darkness.
One of them, a student called Ali, 22, mimicked the whistling sound of air escaping as the boat suddenly deflated.
He said: ‘The air came out and we all landed up in the water. It was so cold and we thought we were going to die. Luckily everyone had lifejackets so we floated. We were in the water for around 15 minutes and people were crying out before a French boat rescued us.
‘We had five young children and six women in the boat. It was a very dangerous situation and we were all terrified, but we were brought back here.
‘It is sad that people have died, but now we want to try again. It might be in one day or two days or longer. Right now, the weather is too bad to go.’
The ‘flimsy’ and ‘very frail’ grey inflatable boat was photographed by a lifeboat captain who arrived to find bodies floating in the water off Calais yesterday afternoon in the worst migrant tragedy in Anglo-French history.
Two survivors – an Iraqi and a Somalian – have told police their poorly made dinghy was hit by a container ship, puncturing its thin rubber hull and taking dozens of lives.
And as Emmanuel Macron was urged to get a grip, French police again failed to stop a group of around asylum seekers crossing the Channel on two boats in choppy conditions this morning. They were brought shivering into a freezing Dover by the RNLI at dawn.
Small groups of officers were seen patrolling beaches close to Calais this morning but again failed to prevent dozens setting off for the UK in dinghies amid claims in Britain that the French have been sitting on their hands as 17 men, seven women – one of whom was pregnant – and three children died yesterday.
Boris Johnson, Mr Macron and their ministers are expected to hold more talks today as the Prime Minister insisted that British boots are needed on the ground in France to stop evil slave gangs ‘getting away with murder’.
As relations between the UK and France become increasingly fraught, Macron’s minister in charge of the crisis, Gerald Darmanin, today blamed Britain for the crisis and claimed migrants are promised ‘Eldorado in England’ by people traffickers because of its suite of benefits and ‘attractive’ labour market.
Mr Macron is said to have ignored the renewed offer for help with patrols during his call with the PM last night with the French President, who insists he won’t let the Channel to ‘be turned into a cemetery’, again accused by critics of allowing a bitterness over Brexit for his failure to tackle migrant traffickers.
Speaking on a trip to Croatia this morning, Macron hit back at critics claiming France is not doing enough. He said police have been ‘working day and night’ since the start of the crisis to stop boats – and have ‘never had more’ officers patrolling the coast. He said ‘our mobilisation is total as far as I’m concerned’.
French interior minister Mr Darmanin is expected to speak to his counterpart, Home Secretary Priti Patel, this afternoon.
He said: ‘It is Britain’s attractiveness which is to blame, including its labour market. Everybody knows that there are up to 1.2 million clandestine migrants in the UK and English business leaders use that workforce to produce things that are consumed by the English’.
He told French radio network RTL that the smugglers are ‘criminals, people who exploit the misery of others, of women and children – there were pregnant women, children who died yesterday on that boat… and for a few thousand euros they promise them ‘Eldorado in England’.