World News

Girl, 7, among five dead on Channel migrant boat

  • By Laura Gozzi and Alys Davies
  • BBC News, London

Five people, including a seven-year-old girl, died while trying to cross the English Channel in the early hours of Tuesday, French officials said.

They said the victims were trying to get to the UK on an overloaded boat carrying 112 migrants.

Authorities said the boat first ran aground on a sandbank after leaving Wimereux, near Boulogne, before continuing on its way.

Several search and rescue operations are underway to find survivors.

The prefect of Pas-de-Calais, where Wimereux is located, indicated that the boat had set sail from German Beach with “an unprecedented number of 112 people on board”.

The “heavily loaded boat” then “seemed to be in difficulty a few hundred meters from the beach after passing a sandbank,” the French maritime prefecture said in a press release. “Its engine stopped and two people fell into the water near the boat.”

Upon seeing the boat in distress, prefect Jacues Billante indicated that the patrol boat Abeille Normandie had been immediately deployed to rescue the people who had left on board the boat. When they arrived, several people were “unconscious and in great difficulty”.

Six people were taken on board the patrol, before being taken to the beach to be treated by emergency services.

“Despite resuscitation attempts, five of them died,” said Mr. Billant.

“We have photos with her, with a big smile in the hope of a better life,” she said.

Ms. Patoux says she saw the child’s father crying after the tragedy: “(He) fell into our arms… He saw his little daughter die before his eyes.”

Billant said 47 other people were rescued from the boat by French authorities, but 57 others remained on board because they did not want to be rescued.

“They managed to get the engine running again and decided to continue their journey to the United Kingdom under the supervision of the navy.”

UK Border Force said it brought around 70 migrants ashore on Tuesday. He said more people were on board a ship heading to Dover.

The BBC’s Andrew Harding saw the inflatable boat leave the shore early on Tuesday. He described clashes between police and migrants as people tried to board the boat.

Once the migrants boarded, however, police made no further attempts to arrest them, he said. A man who failed to find a place on the boat was arrested, with one officer suggesting he could have provided the boat for migrants.

British Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “These tragedies must stop. I will not accept a status quo that costs so many lives. »

Mr Cleverly said the UK government was doing everything it could to “break the business model” of “evil smuggling gangs”.

A spokesperson for the British Prime Minister said the deaths in the Channel were “deeply distressing” and “a tragic reminder of the human cost of these crossings and why it is so important that we stop the criminal gangs that exploit people to make them extremely dangerous.” travel.”

The British Parliament passed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s flagship Rwanda bill last night, after months of wrangling. The law aims to send migrants arriving on small boats to have their asylum claims processed in Rwanda, which the British government says will deter smugglers.

Local French media reported that dozens of boats left around 3 a.m. local time (0100 GMT) on Tuesday, when weather conditions were favorable and the sea calm.

As of April 21 this year, 6,265 people had crossed the Channel in small boats since the start of 2024, almost a quarter more than the same period last year.

Last year, 29,437 people arrived in the UK on small boats.

News Source : www.bbc.com
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jack colman

With a penchant for words, jack began writing at an early age. As editor-in-chief of his high school newspaper, he honed his skills telling impactful stories. Smith went on to study journalism at Columbia University, where he graduated top of his class.After interning at the New York Times, jack landed a role as a news writer. Over the past decade, he has covered major events like presidential elections and natural disasters. His ability to craft compelling narratives that capture the human experience has earned him acclaim.Though writing is his passion, jack also enjoys hiking, cooking and reading historical fiction in his free time. With an eye for detail and knack for storytelling, he continues making his mark at the forefront of journalism.
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