Artin Irannezhad, who police say was 18 months old when he died, drowned along with four family members when their boat sank while trying to cross to Britain from France in October.

The 18-month old Iranian migrant toddler Artin Irannezhad reacts, in Dunkirk, France, on October 17, 2020, in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on June 7, 2021.
The 18-month old Iranian migrant toddler Artin Irannezhad reacts, in Dunkirk, France, on October 17, 2020, in this handout picture obtained by Reuters on June 7, 2021. (Reuters)

A toddler whose body washed up on the southwest coast of Norway on New Year's Day has been identified as a boy who died with his family while trying to cross the English Channel, Norwegian police said.

Police said Artin Irannezhad was 18 months old when he drowned along with four family members after their boat sank while trying to cross to Britain from France in October.

His body, clothed in a blue overall and life jacket, drifted across the North Sea to Norway and his remains washed up in the municipality of Karmoey.

"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 October 27," Camilla Tjelle Waage, head of investigations at the sheriff's office in Karmoey, said in a statement on Monday.

"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."

Tragic story 

Thousands of migrants attempt to cross into Europe each year by land and sea from North Africa, the Middle East and beyond in search of a better life, often taking huge risks and paying large amounts of money to people smugglers.

Norwegian police were able to confirm the identity of the toddler by matching his DNA with that of a relative close enough in lineage who happens to live in Norway.

"This story is tragic, but at least it's good to be able to give the relatives an answer," said Tjelle Waage.

READ MORE: Over 18,000 child migrants have vanished in Europe

Source: Reuters