A husband has spoken of his fears that his wife is among the 27 people who died while attempting to cross the English Channel.
The man told The Daily Telegraph that he was following the movements of his spouse, Maryam Nuri, during her boat journey when her GPS signal suddenly cut off.
“I am in a very bad state,” he said.
The paper reported that the man is a Kurdish immigrant living in the UK who did not wish to be named, but was known as Baran and was from Ranya in northern Iraq.
Iraqi-Kurdish Mrs Nuri was attempting to join him in Britain.
He said tearfully: “She is not in the UK, which means that she is gone. It is very sad for me, and for everyone.
“I had continuous contact with my wife and I was tracking her live GPS.
“After 4 hours and 18 minutes from the moment she went into that boat, I think they were in the middle of the sea, then I lost her”.
He said he had spoken to his wife on the phone before her signal disappeared, and she had told him that there were some 30 people crowded onto her dinghy.
They included other Kurdish women, one of whom was a girl aged about nine, and Afghan nationals.
When he heard that a vessel had capsized in the sea off France, the man called the people traffickers who had organised the crossing but they told him they could not reach any of the people on board.
Wednesday’s tragedy claimed the lives of 17 men, seven women – including a pregnant woman – and three children, according to authorities.
A joint search and rescue operation by the French and British authorities that was launched after a fishing boat spotted people in the sea was called off late on Wednesday.
The French authorities have arrested five suspected people traffickers in connection with the incident.
The Dover Strait is the busiest shipping lane in the world and many people have perished trying to cross to Britain in inflatable dinghies.