News

UK-bound migrants die after boat capsizes in Channel off Calais

Paris: At least 27 migrants died after their dinghy capsized while trying to cross the Channel from France to Britain, a local mayor said.

According to fishermen, more migrants left France’s northern shores on Wednesday (local time) than usual to take advantage of calm sea conditions, although the water was bitterly cold. One fisherman called the rescue services after seeing an empty dinghy and people floating motionless nearby.

French police officers patrol  a beach in the search for migrants in northern France last week. More than 20 people died when a boat capsized on Wednesday.

French police officers patrol a beach in the search for migrants in northern France last week. More than 20 people died when a boat capsized on Wednesday.Credit:AP

Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart told BFM television the death toll now stood at 27, minutes after another mayor put the tally at 24.

A local maritime prefecture official said: “This is no doubt the worst accident involving migrants trying to make it to Britain.”

The local coast guard said they could not yet confirm the number of deaths, adding that rescue services had found around 20 people in the water of whom only two were conscious.

They estimated that there had been about 30 people on the dinghy before it capsized.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he was heading for the coast. “Strong emotion in the face of the tragedy of numerous deaths due to the capsizing of a migrant boat in the English Channel,” he wrote in a tweet.

Two helicopters and three police or rescue boats were at the scene, local authorities said.

One fisherman, Nicolas Margolle, said he had seen two small dinghies earlier on Wednesday, one with people on board and another empty.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *