The French government says a boat carrying migrants trying to reach England has sunk in the English Channel near the city of Calais.
According to French Interior Minister Gerald Dorman, at least 31 people have been killed in what became known as the Cold War.
French Prime Minister Jean Costex called the case a “tragedy” and said the victims were “victims of criminal kidnapping”.
French and British officials are conducting search operations in the English Channel area by sea and by air.
Early Wednesday morning (24/11) a fishing boat issued a warning after seeing many people at sea off the French coast.
“My thoughts are with the victims of missing and injured criminal kidnappers taking advantage of their suffering and misery,” the French prime minister said.
Aldos de France Deputy Chairman for Operations, Transport Infrastructure and Ports for the region, and Tedek Mayor Frank Dersin said 24 bodies had been recovered from the sea near Dunkirk, but survivors had also been rescued.
French Interior Minister Gerald Dormann said on Twitter that several people had died, but did not specify the number.
Natalie Elfick, British MP for the Dover and Deal region, called the event a “complete tragedy” and reinforced the idea of preventing boats from entering the water.
“As winter approaches, the sea will become furious, the water will be colder, and the risk of losing more lives will sadly increase,” said the conservative legislator. “That’s why stopping this dangerous cross is a humanitarian and right thing to do.”
Many people may have come to the British coast in small boats on Wednesday. They were seen being taken ashore by immigration officials.
Louis Goodall of BBC Newsnight said it had received information on Wednesday that 25 boats had tried to cross so far.
The French Coast Guard has issued an emergency alert for 15 people found at sea, the reporter says.
He adds that a humanitarian aid agency warns that the English Channel is in danger of becoming a “graveyard”.
Record crossing attempts between France and the UK are being reported. As of Monday (November 22), the number of immigrants arriving in the UK by boat in 2021 was already three times higher than last year.
This month, more than 1,000 immigrants arrived in a single day – a new record.
The Dover Strait is one of the busiest waterways in the world, where many people died trying to cross in inflatable boats. It is estimated that there have been 10 deaths in recent weeks while constructing this route.
Earlier this week, British Home Secretary Priti Patel described the number of illegal immigrants leaving France as “unacceptable”.
He said the government’s nationalities and borders bill was a “long-term solution” to the problem “before a series of operational and diplomatic missions.”
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