Baby who drowned with family on journey to UK found washed up 600 miles away

The body of a 15-month-old boy who drowned alongside his family as they sought to enter the UK in search for a better life has washed up some 600 miles away.

Artin Iran-Nejad had been spotted on the shore in the south-west of Norway several months ago, but it wasn’t until Monday that police were able to confirm who the body was.

The tragic tot died alongside his parents Rasoul Iran-Nejad and Shiva Mohammad Panahi, as well as his his three siblings, when the boat that was supposed to get them to the UK capsized on October 27, 2020.

His family had sold their house before leaving Iran and paid £14,000 to get on to the boat, with a further £8,200 supposed to be due when they arrived safely in the UK.

Artin’s body was found near Karmøy on New Year’s Day, and arrangements are now being made for his body to be returned to his family in Iran.

Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, with his missing son, Artin,
Rasoul Iran-Nejad, 35, with his son, Artin before their tragic death

The family had reportedly boarded the ferry from northern France after being smuggled from Turkey and then Italy.
A French official said a total of 19 migrants were found in the water when the boat capsized, the Guardian reports.[1]

But the Iranian-Kurdish human rights organisation Hengaw said there were 28 on board, suggesting there are still nine people unaccounted for.

The BBC reported Nihayat, the second aunt of Artin,[2] was the first relative Norwegian Police were able to contact.

“I’m both happy and sad,” she told the broadcaster on Monday. “Happy that Artin’s remains were eventually found, and sad that he left us for good.”

A police handout photo shows clothes belonging to. Artin
A police handout photo shows clothes belonging to Artin

While texts seen by the BBC and believed to have been sent by Artin’s mother expose her concerns at embarking on the perilous sea journey, but she said: “We have no choice”.

Another text reads: “If we want to go with a lorry we might need more money that we don’t have.”

At the time Home Secretary Priti Patel described the deaths as the “ultimate tragedy” and one that could’ve been avoided.

But more than a year on, she is facing legal action by Kent County Council which claims it is facing extreme pressure on its services to deal with unaccompanied child migrants.

And as local child services warn they are at a breaking point for the second time in less than a year, more migrant children wrapped in lifejackets have been arriving in Dover after crossing the English Channel on Monday.

A young boy with bare feet was seen being helped ashore after making the perilous 21-mile journey across the water.

Artin with parents and siblings
Artin and his parents and three siblings died when the boat that was supposed to get them to the UK capsized

Kent County Council has served a formal letter before action to the Home Office as it said it may no longer be able to accept new unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC)[3] within days.

Kent has nearly double the number of unaccompanied children in care the Government says is safe to have, the council said.

The council announced last August it had reached its capacity despite efforts to work with the Home Office and other local authorities.

Meanwhile, MPs on Monday heard the Home Secretary’s decision on whether she would appeal against the High Court ruling on Napier Barracks was “imminent”.

Six asylum seekers previously housed in the former Army barracks in Kent won a legal challenge against the Government last week after a judge ruled their accommodation was inadequate.

Home Office permanent secretary Matthew Rycroft said the department was studying the judgment “carefully” and “will work out what it means for our ongoing use of the barracks”.