How do we know what the channel deaths are?

Image source, AFP
Caption for the image

Emergency services at Calais harbour

A minimum of 27 people died while trying to cross England Channel by small boats. This is what we know.

After spotting many people at sea off France’s northern coast, a fishing boat raised the alarm Wednesday afternoon.

According to Gerald Darmanin, France’s Interior Minister, the drowning victims included 17 men and seven women, one of which was pregnant, as well as three children.

An operation to rescue and search for British and French officials was started. It was stopped late Wednesday night.

Two persons were saved and remain in critical condition in France, suffering from severe hypothermia. The one from Iraq is the Somalian, said Mr Darmanin to RTL radio.

Carole Etienne, the public prosecutor of Lille in France confirmed that the task will be performed to identify the victims and perform autopsies in the coming days.

French media reports that dead people are thought to be Iranian Kurds or Iraqi Kurds.

Is the boat still there?

While the exact cause of the disaster is unknown, rescue workers found that most of the boat used by the migrants was deflated.

Darmanin described it as an “extremely fragile” dinghy.

He described it as “a swimming pool that you can blow up in your backyard”.

This boat is used to transport migrants through the Channel by people who smuggle. It has been sent to Lille for examination.

French police claim that the boat was taken from Dunkirk, just east of Calais.

According to fishermen in the region, calmer weather has encouraged more migrants to try to cross the border on Wednesday.

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According to reports, about 25 boats attempted to cross the river during that day.

Five traffickers implicated in the case were taken into custody.

According to Mr Darmanin, two people appeared before the courthouse and prosecutors opened an investigation into aggravated murder.

According to Mr Darmanin, the boat that crossed the Channel was called a Zodiac and it was bought in Germany.

Still arriving boats

People have continued the risky journey of 20 miles (32 km) across Channel despite Wednesday’s tragic incident. Simon Jones from the BBC reports that another boat arrived in Dover with 40 passengers on Thursday.

All this happened a week after Dunkirk, northern France’s large migrant camp was demolished and over 1,500 migrants had been evacuated.

In small boats, over 25,000 have crossed the Channel to make the hazardous journey across France and the UK this year.

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It is greater than in any previous year and three times the amount of last year.

Jean-Marc Puissesseau is the president of Calais Ports and Boulogne and the chairman. [of the English Channel]There are always waves. It’s dangerous.”

Organised crime gangs created a whole industry for smuggling peoples from Asia and Africa to Europe over the last 20 years.

Over the years, people smugglers sent people across Channel hiding in trucks and trains on ferries and trains. As port security is tightened, it has become more common to allow people to travel by boat.


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