Migrant, 28, who died trying to reach UK in toy dinghy told cousin he 'may never see him again' before deadly journey

A MIGRANT who drowned trying to reach the UK in a toy dinghy told his cousin he may 'never see him again' before his tragic Channel crossing bid.

The desperate Sudanese refugee – who reportedly could not swim -has now been identified by multiple sources as 28-year-old Abdulfatah Hamdallah.

He is understood to have recently had his claim for asylum in France rejected by the authorities.

Those close to him told the Guardian he headed to Europe looking to escape the “horror” of his former life.

Hamdallah set off for Dover in the middle of Tuesday night with a 16-year-old friend in the stolen 3ft dinghy using spades as oars. 

When it sank, he was unable to make it to the shore although his young friend did survive and was later taken to hospital suffering from hypothermia. 

His body was found seven hours later on a beach at Sangatte, near Calais.

A Sudanese driving licence showing a date of birth of 1992 was found on his body.

Before setting off, he is said to have told a cousin in Calais that he might never see him again.


According to fellow migrants, he arrived in Calais around two months ago and had recently been living rough.

"His travelling companion was a teenager who survived," said Philippe Sabatier, the deputy prosecutor of Boulogne-sur-Mer.

The surviving 16-year-old had initially indicated that his dead companion was the same age, said Mr Sabatier.

Hamdallah – also known as Wajdi – was originally from West Kordofan, a Sudanese state near war-torn Darfur.

He is understood to have fled his country in 2014 and then spent two years in Libya with his older brother before heading to France via Italy.

Hamdallah’s second cousin, Al-Noor Mohammed, joined him in the French port town of Calais less than two months ago.



He told the Guardian: “We grew up together in Sudan, and he only took this boat because of the French authorities who didn’t believe him.

“The last time I saw him was [on Tuesday] night. He was on a bicycle and told me that he may not be able to see me again.

"I didn’t believe him, but he said: ‘I will see you at the other side,’ which is the UK.”

His older brother – Al-Fatih Hamdallah – said they used to work together washing cars in Libya.

He said: “He wanted to have a better life from the horror we used to live in, but what happened has happened.”

One refugee who knew him in France said: "Abdul had been sleeping rough as the camps where he was living were regularly dismantled by the French.

"Recently he was living in a camp near the old Jungle refugee site. We are praying for him.

"Inshallah his soul should rest in heaven. He did not deserve to die like this. We will pray for him today and always."

Abdulfatah’s last words on his Facebook account were “on the palm of fate we walk, and don’t know what’s written”.

Following his death, hundreds of people left messages of condolence under the post.

It is thought the pair were trying to reach the UK to beat Storm Ellen that brought 70mph winds and torrential rain across the country.

Its believed other migrants had also made the treacherous journey through Tuesday night in order to beat the harsh conditions.

Furious British MPs have told the French to "get a grip" on the migrant crisis after French politicians suggested that the British hadn't got an "ounce of humanity" and the death was partly the Government's fault for failing to process asylum claims in France.

Home Secretary Priti Patel described the death of the Sudanese migrant as a "tragic loss" and a "brutal reminder" of people smugglers "who exploit vulnerable people".

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