Channel deaths: Kurdish woman who died during Channel crossing told fiance she was making journey just before boarding boat
A young Kurdish woman who drowned on Wednesday in the English Channel didn’t tell her fiance she was about to board a boat to make the crossing, until the last minute.
The 24-year-old – also known as Mariam – died along with 26 others, when their flimsy raft ran into difficulties mid-crossing.
The incident has caused renewed political disagreement on both sides of the Channel.
Speaking at the family’s home in Soran, northern Iraq, Baran’s cousin and childhood friend told Sky News how much the two adored one another and that she wanted to join him in Europe.
“They loved each other so much, they were love birds,” Iman Hassan told us.
“I’ve never seen anyone like them. I would tell my husband, look at him, buy roses like him! They loved each other and were so respectful to each other.
“She even didn’t tell him that she was going this way [by sea], he was trying to find a better way. So what she did, before she got on the ship was take a photo and say ‘I’m coming to you’. They loved each other so, so much.”
Sky News spent the day with family, relatives and friends mourning at the house in Kurdistan.
We were shown the last GPS location for the boat, midway between Calais and the Kent coast. That was the moment that her fiance, who was tracking her journey over, realised something might have happened.
With tears in his eyes, Baran’s younger brother Mohammed said he will remember the last time they hugged.
He said: “My last memory with her which will stay in my head forever is that we were at Erbil International Airport. It was the last time I said goodbye to her and I hugged her.
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“Baran was a loved one in the family and in general. Anyone that has ever seen her or met her once can’t forget her for sure, they couldn’t. And to me, she was a sister and a friend. I am deeply saddened that she left with such a tragic accident.”
Despite their loss, the family showed no sign of anger or blame. Baran’s father said that God took her and explained why she wanted to go to the UK.
He said: “They chose Britain because it’s a good place, it’s secure… people move or migrate there for their own good, but it was God’s fate that it doesn’t work out.
“I ask these countries, especially the UK and the European countries, to help Kurdish migrants, and migrants from other countries and respect them.”
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