Family who died crossing channel pictured as baby remains missing

The migrant family who died while trying to cross the Channel to the UK have been pictured.

They were Kurdish-Iranians Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, Shiva Mohammad Panahi, 35, Anita, nine, and Armin, six, the BBC reported.

Their 15-month-old baby, Artin, is still missing.

They were among the passengers of a migrant boat believed to have been trying to reach England from France, despite windy conditions.

More than a dozen people were taken to hospital after it got into difficulty off the coast of Dunkirk, but French rescuers have now said there is no hope of finding more survivors.

Search and rescue boats and military resources desperately scoured the sea off the French coast for hours.

But nightfall brought a halt to the rescue operation and searches have not resumed on Wednesday.

An investigation into the cause of the sinking has been launched by the Dunkirk public prosecutor.

Charities said such a tragedy was ‘the horror we dreaded’ and repeated calls for safe and legal routes for asylum seekers.

The deaths will put pressure on the Home Office, which has repeatedly pledged to make the route ‘unviable’.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Tuesday evening that the UK has offered ‘every support’ to French authorities as they investigate the ‘terrible incident’.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said she was ‘truly saddened’ to learn of the ‘tragic loss of life’.

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Home Affairs Committee, said there had been fears ‘we would see a tragedy like this for a long time’.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘This is an awful tragedy. For anyone to lose their lives in the cold sea like this is terrible, and when young children are involved it just makes it even more distressing.

‘We have feared that we would see a tragedy like this for a long time because the boats are incredibly dangerous, the journey is perilous and we’ve seen an increase in the number of these small boat crossings, these really flimsy boats.’

She added: ‘I don’t think they (Home Office) do have a clear enough analysis of the reasons why people are making this journey.’

Nearly 7,500 people have crossed to the UK on board small boats during 2020.

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