Five French soldiers have been accused of failing to help 27 people who drowned trying to cross the Channel in the worst small boat disaster on record.
A judicial source said that nine people in total were placed in custody over the tragedy and five were formally charged.
The AFP news agency reported that those charged include three women and two men who were on duty at the Channel rescue center at the time.
The disaster sparked a row between the UK and France as each side tried to blame the other for failing to save the dead.
It took the UK and French coastguards 12 hours to respond after the first Mayday call.
Call records released by lawyers for French authorities as part of an investigation into the disaster found that the first distress call to the French coastguard was logged before 2:15 on 21 November 2021 .
The ship capsized around 3:15 am.
Shortly after, at 3:30 a.m., a passenger reported that some of the group, mostly Iraqi Kurds, were in the water.
The French authorities replied: “Yes, but you are in English waters, Sir.”
Those on board made more than 20 distress calls between 3.40am and 7.30am at sunrise. Around 2:00 in the afternoon, rescue services arrived at the scene and all but two of the group either drowned or died of exposure.
Throughout the night the UK coastguard, responsible for logging emergency calls and coordinating search and rescue missions in the Channel, continued to deny that the dinghy was in British waters, repeatedly telling passengers to call the French coastguard.
Records from France suggest the ship entered British waters at 2.30am.
The charges were accepted by a spokesperson for Utopia 56, an organization that represents migrants.
“We’re just happy that things are improving from a criminal point of view,” said Flore Judet.
According to AFP, those detained are from the French rescue service Cross Gris Nez, which manages rescues in the Channel.
Cross Gris Nez declined to comment.
The Paris court overseeing the investigation was not immediately available for comment.