A tragedy occurred during the crossing of migrants to Great Britain through the English Channel. A boat sank near Calais. French authorities said that at least 27 people were killed in the crash. Two people survived. This is the most tragic accident on the English Channel since 2014. President Emmanuel Macron asked for an “immediate reinforcement” of Frontex’s resources at the external borders of the European Union. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson emphasized in turn the need to break up the gangs that send people on such dangerous crossings.
Around 2 p.m. on Wednesday, a French fisherman reported that he had spotted about 15 bodies floating in the sea near Calais. The rescue operation of the services lasted until evening. In total, at least 27 migrants were counted as a result of the sinking of the boat. Previously, at least 31 fatalities were reported.
WATCH LIVE ON TVN24 GO
There are five women and one girl among the dead, informed the French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. He reported that two people were saved and one remains missing. He added that four people had been detained near the Belgian border. – We suspect that they were directly related to this crossing (via the English Channel – ed.) – said Darmanin.
The International Organization for Migration assessed it as the most tragic accident in the English Channel since 2014.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex called it a “tragedy”. “I am thinking of the many missing and injured victims of smugglers who take advantage of their suffering and misfortune,” Castex wrote on Twitter. The prosecutor’s office in Dunkirk informed the AFP agency that an investigation into the operation of an organized group of people smugglers in Calais had been opened.
Macron: France will not allow the English Channel to become a cemetery
President Emmanuel Macron said France would not allow the English Channel to become a graveyard. He announced that he wanted a meeting of European Union ministers on the migration crisis to be organized.
He also asked for “immediate reinforcement” of Frontex’s resources at the external borders of the European Union, informed the Elysee Palace.
French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said that four people suspected of organizing the transfer of migrants, which ended in a tragedy, had been detained. He stipulated that the balance of the victims of the sinking of the boats was not final and stressed that Wednesday’s accident “is the greatest such tragedy of migrants we have seen” on the English Channel.
Boris Johnson’s Statement
“I am shocked and terrified and deeply saddened by the death in the waters of the English Channel,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Wednesday evening after the government crisis team meeting. What these people experienced was a terrifying thing, he added, and the catastrophe showed how “dangerous it is to cross the English Channel in this way.”
“It also shows how important it is that we now step up our efforts to break the business model of the gangsters who send people out to sea in this way,” he pointed out. – Of course, we have to work with our French friends, with our European partners. Now is the time for all of us to speed up action, work together, do everything we can to smash these gangs who are literally getting away with murder, said the British Prime Minister.
Migrants are trying to get through the English Channel to Great Britain
Before Wednesday’s crash, three people had died during the English Channel crossings since the beginning of the year, and four were reported missing. In 2020, six were lost this way, and three others were lost.
There were four deaths in 2019, the French Ministry of the Interior reported. According to British services, 22,000 migrants crossed the English Channel in the first 10 months of the year.
Main photo source: Mohammed Badra / EPA / PAP