five soldiers indicted
This is the logical judicial follow-up to the investigations carried out into the circumstances of the shipwreck which occurred on the night of November 23 to 24, 2021 and during which at least 27 people drowned off Calais, while trying to reach England. Five soldiers from the regional operational surveillance and rescue center (Cross) in Gris-Nez (Pas-de-Calais) were indicted for “failure to assist a person in danger”, Thursday, May 25.
A total of nine people had been taken into custody in recent days as part of the criminal investigation carried out by three magistrates from the National Jurisdiction for the Fight against Organized Crime of the Paris Court of Justice.
These indictments echo the conclusions of the investigators who, according to elements whose The world had reported in November 2022, considered that the attitude of the soldiers responsible for organizing the rescue of boats in difficulty in the crossing to England was likely to receive a criminal qualification.
No means of rescue sent
In this case, the recordings of the communications between the Cross and the shipwrecked boat revealed that the occupants of the boat had called on numerous occasions the French emergency services to warn them that their canoe was taking on water without at any time a means of rescue being sent to them. “We are in the water. Finished. Finished. Please help us. Help us. (…) We are dying. We are in the sea, in, in (…) it’s cold “had notably implored the passengers on the telephone, while the operators of the Cross seem to have preferred to wait for the boat to reach English waters, to pass the baton to their British counterparts.
The transcript of the conversations revealed in particular the comments of an operator who, when a passenger begged her to intervene, said aside to one of her colleagues: “I’m going to get him the magic phrase, no position [GPS] no rescue boat. » Or : “Ah well you don’t hear, you won’t be saved. My feet are in the water, well… I didn’t ask you to leave. ” ” Often “, migrants “call and shout for danger when they have nothing”had tried to justify another soldier interviewed shortly after the sinking.
The indicted were all on duty the evening of the tragedy. Solicited Thursday, May 25 by The worldthe maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea did not wish to comment, but its spokesperson, Véronique Magnin, assures that “The maritime prefect has complete confidence in all the rescuers who work on a daily basis”.
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