France urged to charge traffickers with manslaughter after migrant family drowned in Channel
When the boat capsized two miles off the coast in seas whipped up by 18 mph winds, they were trapped in the cabin as 15 others on board were pulled from the water. Rescuers believe two other migrants are missing, feared dead.
The region’s prosecutor, Sebastien Pieve, has already interviewed all but one of the 15 survivors detained as part of a criminal investigation and indicated on Wednesday that he could bring charges within the next 24 hours.
He said: “It’s about establishing if they are victims or smugglers and identifying possible suspects, in particular the pilot of the boat.”
Rasoul’s brother Khalil said it was the family’s third attempt to reach the UK after two previous bids by train. “We begged him to not try to cross by boat. He insisted on going,” said Khalil, who last spoke to him on Monday.
This was despite the family’s experience crossing by sea from Turkey to Italy before travelling through France to Dunkirk. “He told me that there were giant sea waves. He said: ‘If I knew it was this dangerous, I would have never tried it,'” said Khalil.
Farhad Shekari, 28, also from Sardasht, said he had tried to talk the family out of attempting the crossing. He had been due to board the same boat at Loon Plage, near Dunkirk, at 8am on Tuesday but changed his mind when he saw how flimsy it was and the number of people trying to board.
“There were 22 people in the boat and I said there are too many people and I didn’t want to go,” he told The Telegraph at a makeshift migrant camp at Puythouck, in Grande Synthe, near Dunkirk. “I told people not to get in the boat. I said it was too dangerous. “The family got on anyway. But I persuaded another not to get on board. They got angry with me, but I stopped them from getting on the boat.
“The smugglers are only interested in one thing, and that’s money. The middle man was forcing people to get on the boat. He was saying: ‘Go, go, go,’ but he didn’t force the family,” he said, adding that although the children had been wearing life jackets, at least half of those on board were not.