According to the French Minister of the Interior, at least 31 immigrants to the UK died when their ship sank in the English Channel. This is the “biggest tragedy” that has occurred at a dangerous border crossing so far, involving immigrants
PARIS-According to the French Minister of the Interior, at least 31 immigrants to the UK died on Wednesday when their ship sank in the English Channel. This is the “biggest tragedy” that has occurred at a dangerous border crossing so far.
Interior Minister Gerald Damanen said that 34 people are believed to be on board. Authorities found 31 bodies and two survivors. One person still seems to be missing.
On Wednesday night, a joint French-British operation was still underway to find survivors.
Although this incident is the channel’s deadliest day so far, Darmanin pointed to other fatal incidents that have occurred in the past and slammed “criminal traffickers”, forcing thousands of people to risk crossing the border.
The nationality of the traveler has not been announced.
The British Prime Minister convened a government crisis committee meeting, and the French Interior Minister rushed to the Calais hospital to visit the survivors. For a long time, the two governments have disagreeed on how to prevent the increasingly dangerous migrants from crossing the border, and both sides accused the other of not doing enough.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “shocked, shocked and deeply saddened.”
A spokesman for the maritime authority said that a French navy ship found several bodies in the water at around 2 pm and found an unknown number of dead and wounded, including some who were unconscious.
According to the French maritime agency in the area, three French patrol boats searched the area along with a French helicopter and a British helicopter.
Jean-Marc Puiseso, the head of the Port of Calais and Boulogne, told the Associated Press that he had a conversation with a rescuer who transported some of the bodies to the Port of Calais.
“Human traffickers are assassins,” he said. “We have been waiting for something like this to happen.”
Although deaths are occasionally reported at border crossings, it is rare for so many people to die on a ship.
The nationality of the victim was not immediately announced. In order to escape conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea, and Sudan, people gathered in towns in northern France, seeking to cross the border to Britain.
Damanning said on Twitter: “After the tragedy of a migrant ship sinking in the strait, strong emotions.” He slammed the migrant smuggling network that organized such trips.
The Dunkirk prosecutor’s office said that after the tragedy, it began an investigation into the crime of gross manslaughter.
Although the high risk of autumn weather is worsening, the number of migrants crossing the strait using small boats has increased sharply this year. It is believed that some people arrived in Britain on a small boat on Wednesday.
This year, more than 25,700 people made dangerous journeys in small boats-three times the total in 2020.
Due to the changeable weather, cold sea surface and heavy sea traffic, inflatable toys and other boats crowded into by men, women and children are dangerous.
In recent weeks, French and British authorities have taken thousands of migrants from the French and British coasts in dozens of rescue operations.
Tom Davis, Amnesty International’s UK Refugee and Immigrant Rights Campaign Manager, said: “Due to the sad lack of security means, how many times do we have to see people die for their safety in the UK?”
“We urgently need a new method of asylum, including genuine British and French efforts to design safe asylum routes to avoid such tragedies from happening again,” he added.
Johnson said more work needs to be done to “break the business model of gangsters sending people into the sea in this way.”
Follow the Associated Press’s global migration report on https://apnews.com/hub/migration