Toddler's body that washed up in Norway is boy who drowned during migrant Channel crossing

·2-min read

Police say a toddler's body that washed up on the Norwegian coast on New Year's Day is that of a boy who died along with his family as they attempted to cross the Channel.

The child has been identified as Artin Irannezhad, who was 15 months old when he drowned with his parents and two older siblings.

The Kurdish-Iranian family died when their migrant boat capsized in October while trying to cross from France to the UK.

Rasoul Iran-Nejad and his wife Shiva Mohammed Panahi, both 35, drowned along with their three children, including Anita, who was nine, and six-year-old Armin.

The body of Artin, who was wearing a blue overall and life jacket, was not found at the time and drifted across the North Sea to Norway.

His remains washed up in the municipality of Karmoey in the southwest of the country - more than two months after the tragedy.

Police were able to confirm the toddler's identity by matching his DNA with a relative close enough in lineage who happens to live in Norway.

Camilla Tjelle Waage, head of investigations at the sheriff's office in Karmoey, confirmed: "The boy who was found is Artin Irannezhad.

"He is of Iranian origin and disappeared during a shipwreck in the English Channel off the coast of France on 27 October.

"Both parents died, as well as Artin's two older siblings who were found dead after the shipwreck. The rest of the family have been notified."

She added: "This story is tragic, but at least it's good to be able to give the relatives an answer."

Following the sinking, a refugee who said he knew the family claimed he had warned them not to undertake the journey because of bad weather.

Choman Manish said he spoke to them most days at their makeshift home in a camp on the outskirts of Dunkirk, France.

The 37-year-old Kurd, from Iraq, told Sky News they were a "beautiful friendly family".

Mr Manish said: "I'm really so sad because I know this family. I advised them, please don't go by boat, it's not good and a really bad situation if you stay in the water.

"I said, it will be bad for you. They told me God is big. I know God is big, but what can I do?

"I told them many times, but they never accepted my word... they trusted in God, they think God will protect them."

Fifteen people were rescued following the sinking.

Thousands of migrants attempt to cross into Europe each year by land and sea from North Africa, the Middle East and beyond in search of a better life.

They often taking huge risks and pay large amounts to people smugglers.

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