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GB News
GB News
16 Dec 2023

NextImg:Second migrant death in English Channel in another small boat emergency

A second migrant has died after another small boat emergency in the Channel, authorities have confirmed.

The discovery of the body of a Sudanese migrant is unrelated to the death of another migrant in a separate incident off Dunkirk in the early hours of Friday morning.

Another two migrants are missing, presumed dead, following the Dunkirk rescue, in which more than 60 people got into difficulties when their small boat began sinking five miles off Dunkirk.

One person, a man in his 30s was pulled from the water unconscious, but rescuers were unable to revive him and he died on the rescue craft.

A second unconscious migrant was flown to hospital in Calais in a life-threatening condition.

The search for two others believed to have been on the boat, when it began sinking, was called off late on Friday night.

A man suspected of piloting the boat has been arrested by French police.

The tragedy happened as a brief weather window opened up on Friday, in which criminal people smugglers took advantage to launch multiple small boats towards the UK.

The Home Office confirmed that 292 migrants were taken off 7 small boats in UK waters, and taken to the processing centre at Dover harbour by Border Force.

In the second fatal incident, the body of migrant was found on a beach at Sangatte, near Calais, just hours after the first drowning.

The French prosecutor's office in Boulogne-sur-Mer has opened an investigation, but has not given any indication of how the migrant, believed to be Sudanese died.

According to police, a group of around 70 migrants went to sea from Sangatte beach in a small boat, around 7am on Friday morning.
Sources said they were forced to abort the launch shortly after because of weather conditions.

French authorities confirmed that maritime agencies were called to rescue those onboard several small boats on Friday, who also got into difficulties because of the conditions.

People smugglers have been criticised for taking increasing risks as winter weather approaches, pushing migrant boats out into the Channel in unsafe circumstances.

The average number of migrants per boat has also increased in recent months, and most boats now carry more than 50 people.

French Interior Minister Gerald Dramanin said: "This is of course a tragedy.

"We're talking about women, men and children who are being used by people smugglers."

The French Interior Minister's comments came as dozens of protesters converged on the main police station in Calais, accusing French authorities of not doing enough to prevent tragedies in the Channel.

The latest incidents take the number of migrants who are confirmed to have died in the English Channel so far this year to 10.

With poor conditions in the Channel over the winter months, the number of rescues normally increases dramatically, as criminal gangs take risks to push small boats into the water in totally unsuitable conditions.

UK Home Secretary James Cleverly said on Friday that the latest news of tragedy in the Channel was a "horrific reminder of the people smugglers' brutality."