Body of Iranian baby who drowned in the English Channel found on Norway coast
The body of a child found on the shores of Norway has been identified as 15-month old Artin, who died along with his family as they tried to cross the English Channel in search of a better life.
The body found near Karmøy in the south-west of Norway, was identified more than two months after the vessel used by Artin's family sank.
"We didn't have a missing baby reported in Norway, and no family had contacted the police," Camilla Tjelle Waage, head of police investigations, told BBC News.
"The blue overall wasn't a Norwegian brand either [and] that indicated the baby was not from Norway."
Artin's Iranian-Kurdish family Rasul Iran Nezhad, Shiva Mohammad Panahi and two of their children were immediately identified, but the baby's body had not been found and was listed as missing.
“Skilled professionals in the department of forensic sciences at Oslo University hospital managed to retrieve matching DNA profiles,” Norwegian police said.
The boy's remains are to be flown back to Iran for burial proceedings, and his death has been notified to his remaining family.
Artin was 15 months old when he went missing in October 2020 as he & his Kurdish family tried to cross the English Channel in an unfit vessel. They all died, and his body was discovered in Karmøy, on New Year's Day and recently identified.— Philip O'Connor (@philipoconnor) June 7, 2021
We need safe passage for refugees. Now. pic.twitter.com/YpvGlvCiYG
Artin's family are believed to have paid a smuggler to take them to the UK in an overloaded boat, after they twice failed the crossing by train.
Iran Nezhad’s brother, Khalil Nezhad, said they were seeking a better life, after the father worked in Iran as a low-paid labourer and his wife was unemployed.
Calais, a port city on one end of a Channel tunnel that connects France and England by train, has long has been a magnet for migrants fleeing conflict or poverty in Africa and the Middle East.
French officials two years ago closed a makeshift camp that swelled to a population of 10,000 at one point as people waited to hop on trucks taking rail ferries or trains to England.
The Channel has seen a recent spike in migrants attempting the trip from France to England in dinghies or other small boats.
The UK Home Office, which oversees immigration, said border agents responded to five separate boating incidents in English waters starting early Christmas Day involving about 40 passengers who said they were from Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan.