A toddler whose body was found washed up on the Norwegian coast has been identified as a boy who died with his family while trying to cross the English channel, local authorities have confirmed.
Artin Irannezhad was 18 months old when he drowned along with four family members when their boat sank as they tried to reach the UK from France in October, according to Norwegian police.
His body drifted across the North Sea to Norway, where his remains were discovered washed up on the country’s southwest coast in Karmoey.
Police were able to confirm his identity after obtaining a DNA sample and building “a complete DNA profile”, they said.
In a statement, Camilla Tjelle Waage, head of investigations at the sheriff’s office in Karmoey, said: “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 Oct. 27.
“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.”
The tragedy last October was believed to be the worst disaster in the English Channel in recent years, following the discovery of several drowned asylum seekers on beaches.
Following the incident, charities warned the deaths – which included Artin’s siblings aged five and eight – must be a “wake-up call for the government” whose policies were pushing asylum seekers to risk their lives.
Care4Calais charity founder Clare Moseley said: “We have to provide a safe and legal process by which refugees can have their UK asylum claims heard, that’s the way to put an end to terrifying, dangerous sea crossings and stop tragedy striking again.
“No one should ever feel they have to get into a fragile craft and risk their lives crossing the Channel, least of all vulnerable children.
“Refugees feel pushed to take these risks because of the policies of the French and British governments.”
At the time, Boris Johnson said his thoughts were with the loved ones of those who tragically lost their lives in the Channel today, adding the government would continue to “crack down on the ruthless criminal gangs who prey on vulnerable people by facilitating these dangerous journeys”.