Soldiers charged with failing to help 27 who drowned trying to cross the Channel

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Five French soldiers have been charged with failing to assist 27 people who drowned trying to cross the river Channel at worst small boats Disaster on record.

A judicial source said nine people in total were held in custody over the tragedy and five had been formally charged.

The accusers included three women and two men on duty at the Channel rescue center at the time, the AFP news agency reported.

The disaster sparked a dispute between the UK and France as each side tried to blame the other for failing to save the deceased.

It took the UK and French coast guards 12 hours to respond after the May Day call.

Call records released by French authorities to lawyers as part of the investigation into the disaster found that the first distress call to the French Coast Guard was logged shortly before 2.15am on 21 November 2021.

The boat capsized at around 3.15 am.

Shortly afterwards, at 3.30 am, a passenger reported that a group, mostly Iraqi Kurds, were in the water.

The French officers replied: “Yes, but you are in English waters, sir.”

The people on board made more than 20 distress calls between 3.40 am and 7.30 am at sunrise. Rescue services arrived at the scene at around 2.00 pm and all but two of the group had drowned or died of exposure.

Throughout the night the UK Coastguard, which was responsible for logging emergency calls and coordinating search and rescue missions in the Channel, continued to deny that the yacht was in British waters, repeatedly prompting passengers to call the French Coastguard. Was saying.

French records show that the boat entered British waters at 2.30.

The allegations were welcomed by a spokesman for Utopia 56, an organization representing migrants.

Flor Judet said, “We can only be pleased that things are progressing from a criminal point of view.”

According to AFP those detained were from the French rescue service Crois Gris Nez, which was in charge of the rescue in the Channel.

Croix Gris Nez declined to comment.

The Paris court in charge of the investigation was not immediately available for comment.