Family who drowned in Channel said they had ‘no choice’ in tragic final texts – World News

A mum who drowned alongside her husband and children attempting to cross the Channel told friends they had no choice but to embark on the journey.

Rasoul Iran-Nejad and his wife Shiva Mohammad Panahi, both 35, were aboard an overcrowded migrant boat along with their children Anita, nine, and Armin, six, when it sank on Tuesday.

Their baby son Artin, just 15 months old, was also on board and has not been found.

A series of text messages believed to be sent by Ms Mohammad Panahi on Saturday makes it clear she knew the danger they faced.

“We have no choice” she wrote in one, while a second message reads “if we want to go with a lorry we might need more money that we don’t have,” the BBC reported.



Shiva Mohammad Panahi died when the boat sank
(Image: pixel8000)

Another says: “I have a thousand sorrows in my heart and now that I have left Iran I would like to forget my past.”

Relatives of the family are are now facing a bill of more than £90,000 to bring their bodies home to Iran so they can be laid to rest.

A cousin of Mr Iran-Nejad, who asked not to be named, said their family back in Iran are “devastated”.

The family were among 22 people put on board a boat designed for far fewer people.

It emerged yesterday they may have died when they became trapped underwater when the boat capsized.



Artin is still missing
(Image: Copyright unknown)


A large search operation was launched after the boat capsized
(Image: REUTERS)

None were given life jackets, Mr Iran-Nejad’s cousin said.

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They 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.

Before setting off for Europe, the family had lived in a village near the Iranian Kurdish city of Sardasht, West Azerbaijan province, northwest of Iran.

The cousin said their family have been in mourning the past two days.

He added: “It definitely was a shock, we are all devastated.



Rasoul Iran-Nejad lost his life in the accident
(Image: pixel8000)

“The family were absolutely lovely, they were fun to be around, they were extremely kind (and) so were the kids.”

Mr Iran-Nejad was the eldest of five brothers who still live in Iran, along with his parents.

He was the first in the family to want to come to the UK.

The cousin added: “They lived a not very well-off life. They were always short of money.

“His only hope of coming to the UK was for a better future for the children.”



Armin, six, tried to make the crossing with his family
(Image: pixel8000)

Mr Iran-Nejad’s cousin issued a “plea for help” to the French government to assist with the cost of returning their bodies to Iran.

He also called on the UK and France to look at the overall situation to prevent other families experiencing the same loss.

An investigation into the cause of the sinking has been launched by the Dunkirk public prosecutor.

Speaking on Thursday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the deaths were “an ultimate tragedy”and one that “could have been avoided”.

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She added: “We are working with our counterparts in France, in fact I am working with the French interior minister and with the National Crime Agency and many others, to ensure that we go after the people traffickers and the people smugglers.”

However, Ms Patel declined to answer whether the Government would consider allowing migrants to claim UK asylum from Calais, seen by some as a way of removing the need to cross the Channel.