A mother and her four children, including a daughter aged just five, are feared to be among those who drowned in last week’s Channel tragedy.
The Kurdish family, who lived in a squalid camp in Dunkirk before attempting the crossing, are thought to be among at least 27 migrants who died when their flimsy dinghy capsized in freezing waters on Wednesday.
A friend at the Grande-Synthe camp said they were hoping to be reunited in the UK with the children’s father and that they had been so excited by the prospect that they had bought a teddy bear for him.
The family were from Darbandikhan in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Khazal Ahmad Khdir, 42, was travelling with her son, Twana Mamand Muhammad Hussein, 19, daughter Hadya Rizger, 17, son Mobeen, 15, and five-year-old daughter Hasty.
They left Iraq a month ago for Turkey. From there they took a boat to Italy before travelling to France in the back of lorries, according to friends at the camp.
Khazal Ahmad Khdir, 42, (pictured far left) was travelling with her son, Twana Mamand Muhammad Hussein, 19, daughter Hadya Rizger (pictured far right), 17, son Mobeen (pictured centre), 15, and five-year-old daughter Hasty (pictured bottom)
Twana Mamand Muhammad Hussein, 19, (pictured) is among those missing feared dead in the Channel tragedy
News that the family was missing and feared dead appeared on Facebook, where one relative said Khazal and her children had made phone calls from the boat before their handsets fell silent.
‘Even in the boat there were phone calls,’ the relative said. ‘We were with them. But that night we heard news about the drowning.
‘We have not heard from them since. Please spread the news, we are looking for information.’
The doomed dinghy left Loon-Plage beach near Dunkirk carrying up to 30 people.
Despite initial reports that it had been struck by a larger vessel, it is now believed that the dinghy capsized when it began taking on water and its occupants panicked.
It emerged on Friday that Kurdish student Maryam Nuri Muhammadamin was among the dead.
The 24-year-old, known as Baran, was hoping to be reunited with her fiancé in Bournemouth.
Another Kurdish woman, called Mahabad, 23, from Erbil, was also reported yesterday to be among the victims, as was Bryar Hamad Abdulrahman, 24, also from Erbil.
Bryar’s mother, Shukrya Bakr, 44, told Kurdish media that he had told her on the phone: ‘I will resume my phone call with you on the other side of [the Channel], inshallah [God willing].
‘That was the last time I spoke to him.’
Bryar Hamad Abdulrahman, 24, (pictured) is also believed to be among the 27 who died in the English Channel on Wednesday
Former campmates in Dunkirk suggested three further names for victims, who had each paid around £3,000 for a place on the boat.
They were Rezhwan Yasin, Mohammed Kader and Zanear Mustafa from Ranya in Iraqi Kurdistan.
A Somali migrant called Abdul Wahab, 23, is also feared to have died.
His brother Muse, 22, said: ‘I am so sad. I had to tell our mother in Somalia and she cried and cried. I don’t know how she will cope.’
Detectives from France’s Organised Crime squad are leading the investigation and fear the death toll could rise further.
The only two survivors, an Iraqi Kurd named last night as Mohammed Shekha, a 21-year-old shepherd, and a Somalian named Omar, aged in his 20s, have described scenes of ‘mass panic’ to officers as the dinghy began to deflate.
It comes as smugglers told one migrants family that Deniz Ahmed Mohammed, 27, had reached the UK safely.
‘I put him in last night and they reached the other side. Tell your family not to worry,’ said the gang leader.
The voice message was sent to obtain a full fee for the crossing, it was reported in The Sunday Telegraph
A relative identified 21-year-old Maryam Nuri Mohamed Amin, known to her family as Baran, as one of those who died on what was the deadliest day of the migration crisis.
The student was said to have been trying to join her fiance, who already lives in Britain, as her cousin urged the British and French governments to help people resettle rather than ‘force them to take this route of death’.
Krmanj Ezzat Dargali told Sky News: ‘The situation is just awful. She was a woman in the prime of her life.
‘I understand why so many people are leaving for a better life, but this is not the correct path. It’s the route of death.’
Also among those who died was Harem Pirot, 25, and his friend Twana Mamand Muhammad, both from Rayna in Iraq, according to The Observer.
Mr Pirot had been trying to reach England to meet his brother Anwar, a Sheffield graduate living in Cambridge.
The Observer also said there was a family from the Iraqi Kurdish town of Darbandikhan – Khazal Hussein, 45, and her children Haida, 22, son Mubin, 16, and younger daughter Hasti, seven.
Ms Hussein’s husband, Rezgar, said: ‘My wife and children were unhappy with our life here. They wanted us all to go to the UK.
‘I told them I couldn’t come because of my job as a policeman. I would lose it. They insisted to go so I agreed I would join them if they made it, and if they didn’t, they could come back. I never knew it was risky.’