Girl, 7, drowns as migrants attempt to cross Channel to UK

A seven-year-old girl has died in the capsizing of a small migrant boat carrying 16 passengers with no life jackets.

The tragedy occurred in Watten, 20 miles from Calais, where a small vessel carrying 16 people overturned in a canal. This waterway connects to the Channel near Dunkirk and is used by migrants seeking to cross into the UK.

The boat was not big enough to support the passengers – which included ten children – on board and capsized shortly after they boarded it, local officials say.

A security source told The Mirror: “It is a route that has been used by people smugglers before.

“On this occasion, the boat was overloaded and too flimsy to support those onboard, who included women and children.

“There was chaos in the water after the boat collapsed, and it led to a seven-year-old girl losing her life. Others were rescued, and taken to a sports hall in Watten, where they are being interviewed by police.”

A local official told the paper that 16 people were on board the migrant boat which is thought to have been stolen.

They were reportedly hoping to avoid police patrol by entering the English Channel close to the Belgium border, and then travel onwards to the UK.

No passengers in the boat – which included ten young children, as well as a pregnant woman – were wearing lifejackets, a local official revealed.

The girl who died remains unidentified but was reportedly thought to be traveling with her parents.

It comes days after another migrant is thought to have died in a dangerous channel crossing.

Two people were reported missing and one was lifted from the water unconscious while trying to make the crossing to Britain, French officials said on Wednesday.

Rescued migrants brought to Dover in January


Rescuers picked up a total of about 180 migrants in four separate operations on Wednesday, the maritime prefecture said. Dozens of people were brought ashore at Dover after making the dangerous journey in various boats in in foggy weather.

Some of those rescued told the crew of a French navy vessel that three people had gone missing during their crossing attempt.

Searches with French navy boats and a helicopter found one person who could not be revived, but two other people were still missing, it said.

Around 50 migrants were on the makeshift boat, officials said.

More than 2,000 migrants have arrived in the UK so far this year after crossing the strait between England and France, Home Office figures show.

The number of Channel arrivals is 32 per cent lower than the total recorded this time last year (2,953) but 49 per cent higher than the total at this stage in 2022 (1,482).

Some 29,437 migrants arrived in the UK after making the crossing last year, down 36 per cent on a record 45,774 arrivals in 2022.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button