Authorities confirmed a deceased child that washed up on a Norwegian beach belongs to a Kurdish-Iranian family of refugees who died at sea.
Investigators finally know the identity of an 18-month-old male whose remains were discovered at the beginning of 2021 on Karmoy Island, about 455km (283 miles) west of Oslo.
The body belonged to Artin Iran-Nejad, 1, one of several passengers who drowned after their sightseeing boat capsized while trying to cross the English Channel back in October 2020.
According to the Daily Mail his father Rasoul, mother Shiva, both 35, sister Anita (9) and brother Armin (6) also died in the wreck.
The BL understands the family, originally from the semi-autonomous Kurdistan Region of Iraq, tried to illegally migrate from France to the United Kingdom.
The family reportedly sold all of their assets and used proceeds to pay smugglers the £21,000 ($29,745) charter boat fee on June 7, 2020.
They then spent most of the 21-mile voyage crammed in a cabin below the deck with 23 other migrants. However, the vessel was no match for stormy weather that attracted wind speeds of up to 57mph, and five-foot waves according to the Daily Mail.
Artin’s body was flung overboard and carried about 900 miles north to the western coast of Norway. The journey took more than five months.
A family photo taken before the boat capsized proved helpful in identifying the toddler. Investigators matched up the one-piece snow suit Artin wore with the same item of clothing on his photo.
Authorities discovered the family first traveled to Turkey where they caught a ferry to Italy. They made their way to France via lorries sometime in September 2020. After they failed to reach the United Kingdom twice by train, they finally decided to travel by sea.
Relatives expressed shock and disappointment that the family did not heed their warning about the dangers of crossing the English Channel.
“We begged him to not try to cross by boat but he insisted on going,” a relative of the father said according to Venathel.
Text messages that appear to contain one of the last conversations between the relative and Shiva suggest the family had “no choice” but to try to enter the United Kingdom by boat due to a lack of savings.
“If we want to go with a lorry we might need more money that we do not have,” the mother said in one of the messages. “I have 1,000 sorrows in my heart and, now that I have left Iran, I would like to forget my past.”
Authorities were unable to verify exactly why the family decided to flee their home in Iran. The Daily Mail speculated they may have left because Kurds face harsh treatment from the Kurdistan Regional Government.