Iraqi wife’s husband tells how migrants’ inflatable boat disappeared from GPS as he watched

The husband of an Iraqi woman who feared being among the 27 people killed in the English Channel has told how the migrants’ inflatable boat vanished from GPS as he watched.

Maryam Nuri, from Ranya in the north of the country, is said to be one of the victims of the capsized thin boat that sank off the coast of Calais on Wednesday amid harsh seas and cold temperatures.

Her husband, who would not be named, was among those anxiously awaiting news of their loved ones after lifeboatmen dragged the bodies of 17 men, seven women and three children from the water.

A Kurdish immigrant living in Britain, he told the Telegraph how he tried to track his wife’s journey from France to the UK, before her signal suddenly dropped.

“She’s not in the UK, which means she’s gone. It’s very sad for me and for everyone,” he said.

‘I was in constant contact with my wife and I followed her live GPS. After four hours and 18 minutes from the time she got in that boat, I think they were in the middle of the sea, then I lost her.’

French police carry unidentified body on a stretcher discovered off Sangatte beach the day after 27 migrants died

A damaged inflatable dinghy, outboard motors, life jackets and sleeping bags left behind by migrants are seen on the beach at Slack Dunes

A damaged inflatable dinghy, outboard motors, life jackets and sleeping bags left behind by migrants are seen on the beach at Slack Dunes

The bottom line is that last night it turned out that another migrant, who was feared drowned in the tragedy of the Channel, called a friend to say: ‘It’s not good, the engine isn’t powerful enough – I don’t know if we’re going to make it.’

Mohammad Aziz, 31, has not been heard from since his frantic appeal to fellow Iraqi Kurd, Peshraw Aziz.

He told the Daily Mail from his camp in Calais last night: ‘He was in a panic that the boat was going to sink.’

Meanwhile, other migrants spoke of fears for four Afghan youths who also disappeared in the wake of Wednesday’s disaster that claimed at least 27 lives.

Riaz Mohammed, 12, his relative Share Mohammed, 17, and two other teenagers, Palowan, 16, and Shinai, 15, were among those attempting the dangerous crossing that day.

Friends who were unable to contact them yesterday said they were afraid they were among the dead.

A friend showed a TikTok video of Riaz and Share, filmed on Monday, from Jalalabad, wearing life jackets on the beach as they prepared for an earlier attempted trip to England.

A pregnant woman was one of 27 who died. Officials said the dead included 17 men, seven women, two boys and a girl.

Yesterday, a rescue boat volunteer who helped retrieve six bodies from the sea on Wednesday compared the horrific scene to a disaster movie.

Charles Devos, who was one of the first to arrive, said: ‘It was a bit like the movie Titanic when you saw all these people plunge into the water, drowning, with no means to save.

“Unfortunately, we were only able to salvage the dead.”

Riaz Mohammed (12), his relative Share Mohammed (17), pictured wearing life jackets on the beach prior to the crossing, resulting in the deaths of 27 people

Riaz Mohammed (12), his relative Share Mohammed (17), pictured wearing life jackets on the beach prior to the crossing, resulting in the deaths of 27 people

He added: ‘I saw that the inflatable had really deflated. Was it a valve that came loose or hit an object? I think it was due to overload.

“Remember, you think the sea is calm – the sea isn’t calm because it’s almost always choppy.”

Devos said, “We passed next to an inflatable boat that was completely empty. What little air remained was to keep it afloat.

‘I don’t know if there were children, but we picked up’ [the body of] a pregnant woman and a young man of about 18 or 20.’

The French Coast Guard has released a poignant recording of the Mayday call after the dinghy was spotted empty seven miles off the coast of Calais.

Rescuers snapped a shocking photo of the flimsy inflatable craft — described as barely more seaworthy than a kiddie pool —.

The only two survivors of the horror – an Iraqi and a Somali – reportedly told French police that the dinghy was hit by a container ship, which pierced the thin rubber hull and sank the vessel.

They were in the hospital’s intensive care unit last night with hypothermia.

Last night, Mr Aziz told the Mail about his last conversation with his friend Mohammad, an hour before the sinking.

The pair, both from the northern Iraqi city of Ranya, had met in a camp near Dunkirk while waiting to cross the Channel. They had both entered Europe via Belarus.

Aziz, 30, said: ‘Mohammad decided to try his luck. But he called me in a panic and confessed that he wondered if he had made the right decision.

‘He told me ‘it’s not good’, he didn’t think the engine was powerful enough and was afraid the boat would sink, ‘I don’t know if we’ll make it’. That was the last time I heard from him.’

According to Afghans still waiting to cross the Channel, two of their compatriots feared drowned - Palowan, 16 (L) and Shinai, 15 (R)

According to Afghans still waiting to cross the Channel, two of their compatriots feared drowned – Palowan, 16 (L) and Shinai, 15 (R)

French authorities have not released the names of the victims and there is no confirmation whether Mohammad Aziz is among the dead.

Officials informed 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 train station and – the night before the crossing attempt – hid by a canal.

In a grim, trash-strewn camp near Dunkirk, other Afghans told the Mail about their fear of their missing friends. Referring to Riaz and Share Mohammed, one of them said: ‘They tried to cross the road three days ago, then they tried again yesterday (Wednesday) – and we haven’t heard from them since.’

They said the missing youths were part of a group of up to 100 people who set off in three inflatable boats. Again, there was no official confirmation as to whether their friends were among the victims, arrived safely in the UK or have been held by the French.

“It’s not good, the engine isn’t powerful enough – I don’t know if we’re going to make it,” Mohammad Aziz, 31, said during a panicked phone call to fellow Iraqi Kurd, Peshraw Aziz, as he tried to cross the channel. on a thin dinghy that sank, dozens dead.

A migrant at the camp, 30-year-old Hassan from Kabul, was granted asylum in Britain in July 2012 but is now trying to return. He said, “My friends Palowan and Shinai were in the same boat. They recently left me two messages, one in the morning and one in the evening, asking me to participate.”

He revealed that Afghans described attempts to illegally cross the border as ‘The Game’, saying: ‘Shinai kept calling me and saying ‘Come on the Game’. I didn’t go.

“I haven’t heard back – and I think they’re dead. But I keep trying anyway. They had often tried to cross. England is so close.’

Sources told the Mail how a female doctor burst into tears when confronted by the bodies lying in a hangar at the Quai Paul depot in Calais.

None of the victims are said to have passports or other documents on them – a tactic often used because it makes it more difficult to return migrants to their countries of origin.

Anna Richel, of the 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 for official identification of those who died, has been reached.’

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