The sloop that capsized, claiming the lives of at least 27 migrants in the English Channel, had reached British waters, an official report said.
British investigators initially did not look into the incident that shocked the nation because the boat was recovered in French waters.
But the interim findings of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) confirmed that “some of the events related to this loss of life had occurred in British waters”.
Along with many other migrants passing through the Strait of Dover that night, some of those on board the boat made phone calls to notify the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCC) ashore of their situation
The British search and rescue operation on November 23 last year is under investigation.
About 34 people aboard the small inflatable boat left a beach near Dunkirk in France that night before running into trouble. The following afternoon, a French fishing vessel reported seeing bodies in the water.
There were only two survivors, with 27 bodies recovered from the sea.
“Along with many other migrants passing through the Strait of Dover that night, some of those on board the boat called to alert the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCC) ashore of their plight,” the report said.
Dover personnel sent “surface and aerial resources to search the area where the distressed migrants are believed to be located”, but they were not found.
The investigation is ongoing.