The Home Office has admitted that passengers of a boat that sank last week in the canal, causing the deaths of at least 27 people, may have tried to contact British authorities.
Dan O’Money – the channel’s covert threat commander – said he could not say with any certainty whether those on board had asked for help from the UK. Speaking to Parliament’s Human Rights Committee, O’Mahony said the British Coast Guard was now investigating.
survivors From last Wednesday’s incident They claimed that those on board made repeated pleas to the British and French authorities as their rickety boat began to sink.
According to one of the survivors, the British responded by telling them to contact the French.
Relatives of one of the dead, Tuana Mamand Muhammed, told The Guardian that he He was aware of the dangers of the canal crossing They had taken emergency numbers with him before his departure, including 999.
They added that this was his seventh attempt to reach the UK.
The Guardian contacted HM Coastguard on Tuesday and inquired about the allegations in the survivors’ account.
A spokesperson for the channel said it had received more than 90 alerts from the channel last Wednesday, including emergency calls. And they added: We answered them all.
But HM Coast Guard has repeatedly refused to say whether it received a distress call or calls from the sinking boat in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The group set off from the French coast near Dunkirk at about 10 p.m. Tuesday. Their boat ran into difficulties after about three and a half hours, when its right side began to shrink. Then the engine stopped working.
They said that two people on the boat who spoke fluent English had made at least two calls to the UK, begging for their rescue.
Home Secretary, Priti Patel, O’Mahony was named “small boat captain” last year.. According to the Home Office, his brief is to make the channel’s entry route into the UK “unviable” for the growing numbers of migrants setting off from Calais and Dunkirk.
Asked by Harriet Harman MP on Wednesday about the survivors’ claim, O’Mahony said: “At this point I can’t tell you with any certainty whether or not we’ve had a call from that boat. It’s a question for the Coast Guard and they’re working through it.”
His Majesty’s Coast Guard responded as soon as the French launched a search and rescue operation, after French fishermen discovered bodies floating in the water, he said. It was 12.58pm on Wednesday — about 11 hours after survivors claimed to have sounded the alarm for the first time.
Talking to Rudaw Kurdish StationMohamed – a survivor from Somalia – said someone on the boat who spoke fluent English had called the UK authorities and asked the person on the other line to locate him. “Before we could give it,” he said, “we fell into the water.”
The Home Office denied allegations that British authorities had failed to respond and said there was “no evidence” to the contrary. The sources said that the French launched a huge search and rescue operation, which the British authorities joined. They added that the British Coast Guard dispatched a helicopter to help as soon as a distress signal was sent.
According to the second survivor, Muhammad Ibrahim, those on board made several frantic attempts to raise the alarm. The boat began to sink for three and a half hours at the crossing Rudaw said, with incumbents arguing over whether to press on or go back.
“The right side of the boat was losing air. Some people were pumping air into it and others were taking water out of the boat,” Ibrahim, 21, told Rodeau, speaking from a hospital in Calais, where he was recovering from hypothermia. Few, we called the French police and told them: Help us, the pump has stopped working.”
“Then [we] I sent [our] French police website and they said: “You’re in British waters.” So we called Britain. They said they called the French police,” Ibrahim claimed. There were two people calling – one of them was calling France The other was calling Britain.” He confirmed that the calls were made in English.
Ibrahim claimed that the boat had reached the UK area by the time it began to sink.
The British police did not help us. Then, as we were slowly sinking, people lost hope and left. Then the waves brought us back to France.” He added: “Britain should have come on board and rescued us. They didn’t help us or do anything for us.”
O’Mahoney told the commission that it might be impossible to show whether the boat was in UK waters before it was eventually located in French waters. “To manage your expectations, chair,” he said, “it may never be possible to say with absolute accuracy whether this boat was in UK waters or French waters before then.”
Ibrahim said one of those said to have called the UK for help was Mobin Hussain, 16, from the town of Darbandikhan in Iraqi Kurdistan. He was on the boat with his mother, Khazal, 45, sisters Hadia, 22, and Hassi, seven. Rizgar, Khazal’s husband, said his last contacts with his family It was around 10 pm on a TuesdayAdding: “After that, I did not hear any news from them again.”
Relatives of the dead are now filing a formal complaint accusing the UK government of neglect. Zana – whose brother Tuana met – collected a letter signed by 11 of her relatives. They claim they were tracking the boat’s progress via Facebook Messenger in real time and believed it had reached the UK Maritime Zone.
Officially, the French authorities denied receiving distress calls. No details were given pending a criminal investigation.
Families say some of those on the plane had British SIM cards in their phones. They added that network connectivity that night was good and clear.
Ibrahim said that when the boat drifted after its engine failed and lost more air, the passengers, including children, slipped into the water. They clung to the deflated boat and each other and shouted: “Please, God, save us!” By dawn, when the half-sinked canoe made its way back toward France, most of them were dead.
“Everyone can take it until sunrise, then when the light shines, no one can take it any more, so they gave up on life,” Ibrahim said. “One by one, they left each other and the boat.”