Father’s Heartbreaking Recollection of His Daughter’s Tragic Death on a Small Boat

Posted by

A man grieved the death of his seven-year-old daughter, who was among five casualties in an overcrowded boat crossing the Channel, expressing remorse that he “could not protect her.”

Related posts

“I will never forgive myself. The sea was the only option left to me,” said Ahmed Alhashimi, a 41-year-old from Iraq, whose family was on their fourth attempt in two months to reach Britain.

While Mr. Alhashimi, his wife, and two other children – 13-year-old Rahaf and eight-year-old Hussam – were rescued from the vessel, their youngest daughter, Sara, did not survive.

The family had concealed themselves with other asylum-seekers in the sand dunes at Wimereux, south of Calais, inflating their boat overnight before being rushed towards the water by people-smugglers as police approached.

However, the situation turned chaotic as police fired tear gas nearby, and smugglers set off fireworks to deter them while another group of migrants pushed their way onto the already overloaded boat.

The boat launched overcrowded with more than 110 people, though the smugglers had assured only 40 would be aboard, charging €1,500 (£1,280) per adult and €750 per child, according to Mr. Alhashimi.

Sara initially sat on her father’s shoulders, but in the commotion as he helped his daughter Rafah aboard, he lost track of Sara amidst the throng.

“That moment was akin to death itself. We witnessed people dying. I saw how ruthless those men were, trampling indiscriminately over anyone in their path, children and adults alike. Suffocation began,” Mr. Alhashimi described to BBC News.

His cries for help could be heard from the shore as he frantically tried to get others to give him space to reach his daughter.

“I needed him to shift so I could lift my child,” he recalled about a young Sudanese man, part of the group that crowded the boat. He claimed the man initially ignored him, then threatened him.

“I work in construction. I’m strong. Yet, I couldn’t free my leg. Imagine my little girl. She was trapped beneath our feet,” he added.

It wasn’t until the French authorities intervened and rescued several people that Mr. Alhashimi found his daughter’s body. “I saw her head in the boat’s corner. She was all blue. She was dead when we pulled her out. She wasn’t breathing,” he recounted.

The family has since been under the care of French authorities, awaiting the burial of Sara’s body, as reported by the BBC.

“I will never forgive myself. The sea was my only choice. Everything was beyond my control. I had no alternatives left. People judge me, questioning how I could risk my daughters’ lives. But after 14 years in Europe and continuous rejections,” Mr. Alhashimi explained.

Originally from Basra, he left Iraq due to threats from militias. Sara was born in Belgium and had spent most of her life in Sweden, where she and her siblings lived with a relative for seven years until recently, when Mr. Alhashimi was told they would be deported to Iraq.

“If there was even a 1% chance to keep my children in Belgium, France, Sweden, or Finland, I would have taken it,” he stated.

“All I wanted was for my children to attend school. I wasn’t asking for any aid. My wife and I are capable of working. I just wanted to safeguard their youth and dignity,” he expressed.

“What would others do in my shoes? Those who judge haven’t endured what I’ve been through. This was my final resort,” he said.

In Sweden, Sara’s teacher Eva Jonsson sent a video message to the BBC, noting Sara was well-liked at school. “In February, we were told she’d be deported swiftly. We had two days to prepare,” she disclosed.

Her class observed a minute of silence upon learning of her death last week, Ms. Jonsson added, “We still display Sara’s photo, and it will remain as long as the children wish.”

Share this:
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments