France charges 5 military staff over 2021 Channel migrant boat tragedy
The sinking of the small boat in the Channel in November 2021 left 27 migrants dead, aged between seven and 46, in what is described as the worst such disaster in recent times.
French prosecutors accused five military soldiers, on Thursday, of non-assistance to individuals in danger in connection with the drowning of a migrant boat crossing the Channel to Britain in 2021, a judicial source said.
Numerous sources close to the matter previously stated that police had detained approximately a dozen persons in the investigation into the tragedy, including numerous military soldiers posted as coastguards in northern France.
According to one person acquainted with the situation, those charged were three women and two men who were on duty at the Channel rescue center at the time.
The sinking of the small boat in the Channel in November 2021 left 27 migrants dead, the worst such disaster in recent times.
The investigation is centered on charges that French servicemen stationed in the country's north failed to appropriately respond to passengers on board's distress calls.
In legal documents seen by AFP, French authorities are accused of disregarding calls made by the stricken migrants for help some 15 times.
Those who died were mainly Iraqis aged between seven and 46.
Passengers initially phoned France's Channel rescue center at 1:48 am on November 24 to report that their vessel was inflating and its engine had stopped, according to a report published by Le Monde newspaper in November --based on documents contained in the French legal investigation.
They sent their locations via WhatsApp around 15 minutes later.
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