At least six are dead and others are still missing after a migrant boat sank in the English Channel early Saturday.
More than 50 people were believed aboard the boat in poor conditions when it began to sink around 4 a.m. UK time off the coast of Dover.
Lifeboats rushed dozens to shore but many were spotted being brought in on stretchers.
France’s Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea said five migrants died at sea and another died after being taken to a hospital.
Fifty-one others were brought safely to shore, 37 by French boats, a dozen by Britain’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution and three by a private British boat.
At least five of the dead were from Afghanistan, The Sun reported.
A search mission for additional people feared missing was ongoing, according to reports.
The tragedy comes as UK officials work to stop small, often unseaworthy boats from trying to cross the Channel, one of the world’s busiest shipping corridors, which has strong currents that make it especially dangerous for small boats.
French authorities have said there’s been a noticeable increase in the number of attempts since Thursday, when mild weather set in.
British authorities put the number of successful crossings on Thursday at 755 people, the highest number in a single day since the start of the year.
As of Thursday, 15,826 of these vessels were detected in the year to date, down from 18,600 at this time last year, amid pressure by the UK on France to deter more attempts.
A criminal investigation has been opened by French officials.
With Post Wires