An immigrant who feared drowning in the canal tragedy called a friend to tell him: “This is not good, the engine is not powerful enough – I don’t know if we will succeed.”
Muhammad Aziz, 31, has not been heard from since his frantic contact with an Iraqi Kurd, Bushro Aziz.
“He was terrified that the boat might sink,” he told the Daily Mail last night from his camp in Calais.
Meanwhile, other migrants told how they feared for four young Afghans who also went missing in the wake of Wednesday’s disaster that killed at least 27 people.
Riaz Mohammed, 12, his cousin Sher Mohammed, 17, and two other teens, Baluwan, 16, and Sheni, 15, were among those attempting the perilous crossing that day.
Friends who were unable to contact them yesterday said they were worried they were among the dead.
A friend showed off a TikTok video filmed on Monday of Riaz and Share, of Jalalabad, wearing life jackets on the beach as they prepared to attempt an earlier trip to England.
A pregnant woman was among the 27 who died. Officials said the dead included 17 men, seven women, two boys and a girl.
Yesterday, a semi-volunteer in a lifeboat helped retrieve six bodies from the sea, on Wednesday, the horrific scene in a disastrous movie.
‘It was like in the movie Titanic when I saw all these people drowning in the water, drowning,’ said Charles DeVos, who was one of the first to arrive, with no way of being able to save them.
“Unfortunately, we were only able to recover the dead.”
Riyad Muhammad, 12, his relative Sharek Muhammad, 17, wears life jackets on the beach before the crossing, killing 27 people.
French police carry on a stretcher an unidentified body discovered off Sangat beach, the day after 27 migrants died when their boat exploded while trying to cross the English Channel, in Sangat, near Calais, France, November 25, 2021
He added: ‘I saw the bombing boat had already deflated. Was it a loose valve or hit something? I think it happened due to overloading.
“Don’t forget, you think the sea is calm – the sea is not calm because it is always choppy.”
“We passed by an inflatable boat that was completely deflated,” said Mr. DeVos. What little air was left was keeping him afloat.
I don’t know if there are children, but we picked up [the body of] A pregnant woman and a young man of about 18 or 20 years of age.
The French coast guard has released a shocking recording of a Mayday call after the boat was seen floating seven miles off the coast of Calais.
Rescuers snapped a shocking photo of the fragile inflatable boat – which was described as barely seaworthy from the children’s paddling pool.
Reportedly, the only survivors of the horror – an Iraqi and one Somali – reported to the French police that the boat had collided with a container ship that penetrated its thin rubber hull and sank the ship.
Last night they were in intensive care in the hospital suffering from hypothermia.
Last night, Mr. Aziz told the Post about his last conversation with his friend Mohammed an hour before the drowning.
The two, both from the northern Iraqi town of Rania, met at a camp near Dunkirk while waiting to cross the canal. Both came to Europe via Belarus.
Aziz, 30, said: “Mohammed decided to try his luck. But he called me in a panic and admitted that he wondered if he had made the right decision.
He told me it was “not good”, thinking the engine wasn’t powerful enough, and worried that the boat might sink, “I don’t know if we’ll make it.” This was the last time I heard of him.
According to Afghans still waiting to cross the canal, pictured here are two of their compatriots feared to drown – Baluwan, 16 (left) and Chini, 15 (right)
The French authorities have not released the names of the victims, and there is no confirmation of whether Mohamed Aziz was among the dead.
Officials had reported yesterday that the boat was transporting Kurds from northern Iraq with migrants from Afghanistan and Iran. They had lived in camps, slept at Calais railway station and – the night before trying to cross – hid near a canal.
In a dreary, garbage-strewn camp near Dunkirk, other Afghans told The Mail about their concerns for their missing friends. Referring to Riyad and Sher Mohammed, one of them said: “They tried to cross three days ago, then tried again yesterday (Wednesday) – and we haven’t had any news from them since then.”
They said the missing youths were in a group of up to 100 people who set out on three inflatables. Again, there was no official confirmation as to whether their friends were among the victims, arrived safely in the UK or were detained by the French.
Muhammed Aziz, 31, said in a frantic call with an Iraqi Kurdish citizen, Bushro Aziz as he tried to cross the canal on a flimsy boat that sank and killed dozens.
One of the migrants in the camp, Hassan, 30, from Kabul, was refused asylum in Britain in July 2012 but is now trying to return. He said: My friends Balwan and Chennai were on the same boat. They left me two messages the other day, one in the morning and one at night, asking me to join them.
Revealing Afghans’ description of attempts to cross the illegal border as a ‘game’, he said, “Shanai kept calling me saying ‘come to the game.’ I didn’t go.”
I didn’t hear anything – I think they died. But I will keep trying anyway. They tried to cross several times. England is very close.
Sources told The Mail how a female doctor was crying when she encountered the bodies laying in a barn at the Quai Paul warehouse in Calais.
None of the victims were said to have been in possession of passports or other documents – a technique often used because it makes it difficult to return migrants to their countries of origin.
“Migrants never cross the channel with ID cards, so it can take weeks for those who have died to be officially identified,” said Anna Richelle, of the French charity Utopia 56, which works closely with migrants in Dunkirk and Calais.