Already very heavy with the death of four members of an Iranian Kurdish family, the toll of the sinking of a migrant boat on Tuesday in the Channel could unfortunately be revised upwards.
The third and youngest child of this family and two other passengers are missing, the Dunkirk prosecutor's office said Thursday.
The 35-year-old man, 32-year-old woman and two children, an 8-year-old girl and a 6-year-old boy found dead on Tuesday were one family, from Sardasht in western Iran, said indicated the prosecutor Sébastien Pive, confirming testimonies of relatives relayed Wednesday by the BBC.
Their youngest missing child is one year old, he added.
The loss of the little boy had been reported from the day of the sinking by the first testimonies of passengers.
A close relative living in France was heard by the Border Police (PAF) to confirm the identity of these victims, trapped in the cockpit of the boat when it capsized and sank, he said.
The ongoing investigation also confirmed that two other passengers, men whose identity could not be established, disappeared at sea in the wreck.
The boat was mostly Iranian and Iraqi Kurds.
The family had "paid a lot of money"
Bringing to seven dead and three missing the number of migrants victims of the perilous crossings of the Channel in 2020, Tuesday's sinking is the worst migratory drama to have occurred in these waters.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacted on Twitter by assuring that the United Kingdom would do "all" it could against "ruthless criminal gangs who prey vulnerable people by facilitating these dangerous journeys".
“Our family here is desperate.
My father, my mother and my sisters cry all their tears, testified Wednesday on the BBC the brother of the father of the deceased family.
The family had "paid a lot of money" to join the UK, he said.
Fourteen of the 15 survivors continued to be heard on Thursday in police custody, which could be extended if necessary, in an attempt to identify the pilot of the boat, exposed to prosecution for manslaughter and involuntary violence, added the prosecutor.
“At the same time, operations are being carried out to identify the smugglers” on the ground, he said.
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Despite the dangers, attempts to cross the Channel have been increasing since 2018. Between January 1 and August 31, 6,200 migrants tried their luck there, according to official figures.