A survivor of the tragedy in which 27 people lost their lives on the English Channel has spoken about his experience.
The horrific incident unfolded on November 24, as the group tried to make their way to the UK on an inflatable dinghy described as ‘very frail’ and ‘like a pool you blow up in your garden’. The boat sank near Calais, and a French fisherman sent out a mayday signal after finding bodies floating in water.
The fallout of their deaths has sparked diplomatic disputes between the UK and France, with many arguing the need for a safer, official route to prevent further fatalities on the crossing.
Mohammed Ibrahim Zada, 21, spoke to Rudaw TV about the moment the boat started to sink, and how they held each other’s hands in an effort to stop them drowning. He is one of two known survivors, alongside Mohammed Isa Omar.
‘At first water started to flow into the boat and the rear side by the motor. We were emptying the water. We saw a ship and said, ‘Let’s go towards them,’ but the people on the boat said, ‘No, we shouldn’t go, this boat must reach Britain tonight’,’ he recalled, as per Sky News.
‘There was a pump inside the boat so some people started to pump air while others were emptying water from the boat,’ Zada said, but eventually the dinghy started to ‘sink gradually’.
‘The waves started to push us towards France and the boat sunk, and all the people fell in the water. We started to hold each others’ hands. Each person held the hands of the next person in order not to sink or drown in the water. But with the sun rise, early in the morning, the people couldn’t take it anymore and they all gave up on their lives,’ he explained.
Zada also claimed they made contact with British and French authorities before the boat sank, but both sides offset responsibility onto the other.
‘We sent our location to the French police, and they said, you are inside British water. So, we were inside the British water and called the British police for help, but they said call the French police,’ he said.
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