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Dozens dead as migrant boat capsizes

Dozens of illegal boat migrants are said to have drowned in the English Channel after their small boat capsized as it tried to reach Britain from France.

A huge rescue mission was undertaken on Wednesday after a boat full of illegal migrants capsized off Calais, France in what is believed to be the deadliest drowning in the history of the Channel migrant crisis.

UPDATE 2000: French President Emmanuel Macron makes statement

Addressing the Channel tragedy, French President Emmanuel Macron said Wednesday evening that “France will not let the Channel become a cemetery”.

The French leader then called for an “emergency meeting of European ministers” to discuss the migrant crisis.

Macron also demanded that there be an “immediate reinforcement of resources” for the EU’s Frontex border agency. The French president concluded by promising that “everything will be done to find and condemn those responsible” for the tragedy.

UPDATE 1930: French Minister of the Interior announces 31 dead in the English Channel

During a press conference from a hospital in Calais, the French Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin indicated that “to his knowledge” thirty-four people were on the migrant boat. So far, according to Darmanin, 33 people have been found, including 31 dead, according to the French regional newspaper. The voice of the North reported.

Read the original story below:

The migrant boat was reportedly damaged, but the migrants chose to continue their perilous journey to Britain. Two smugglers are said to be in detention in connection with the drownings.

Commenting on the loss of life, French Prime Minister Jean Castex called the incident a “tragedy”, writing: “My thoughts are with the many missing and injured.”

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin noted that he felt a “strong emotion” in the face of the many deaths in the Channel, blaming the criminal networks of smugglers who organize the dangerous crossings of migrants.

Right-wing populist presidential candidate Marine Le Pen has targeted the French government, saying: “Lax migration policies lead to tragedies.

They would join the tragic trend seen across Europe in which illegal migrants are often lured to death by smugglers, who take huge sums of money in exchange for their passage on often unusable boats.

Wednesday’s deaths in the Channel are possibly the biggest loss of life in an incident in the history of the Channel migrant crisis. However, the busy seaway has already claimed the lives of migrants trying to reach the UK.

In response to the latest deaths and the record number of illegal immigrants attempting to land in Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has called a meeting of the UK government’s emergency response team, COBRA.

Speaking from Downing Street, Mr Johnson said: ‘I just want to say that I am shocked and dismayed and deeply saddened by the loss of life at sea in the English Channel. I think the details are still coming, but more 20 people lost their lives.

“My thoughts and sympathies are first of all with the victims and their families. It is a terrible thing that they suffered.

“But I also want to say that this disaster underlines how dangerous it is to cross the Channel in this way.”

So far this year, more than 25,000 illegal immigrants have successfully reached British shores in small rubber dinghies from France, almost three times more than during the whole of last year.

Sharing footage from Channel reports earlier today, Brexit leader Nigel Farage said he was sad to hear reports of the deaths, but it had come as no surprise. The Brexiteer has always warned that tragedy will hit the Channel if Boris Johnson’s government fails to stop the boats.

Following another boat full of migrants this morning, the Brexit leader signaled “there is no border force”, saying they were “being held” with more migrants in Dover.

“These people are taking huge risks,” Farage said, adding: “The crisis is not improving.”

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