Five migrants drowned in the English Channel

Lille (France) (AFP)- Five migrants died and one was seriously injured on Sunday morning while trying to cross the English Channel linking France with the United Kingdom, the French maritime prefecture said.

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“Four migrants died and one was taken to hospital,” Maritime Prefecture told AFP.

Shortly afterward, the prefecture said in a statement that another person had been found and “unfortunately he could not be revived.”

The tragedy occurred around 02:00 (01:00 GMT) on Sunday when a boat carrying dozens of people capsized, regional newspaper La Voix du Nord reported.

A source said on condition of anonymity that about 70 migrants, including children, were rescued.

The migrants were rescued by the crew of a French tugboat, the Abeille Normandie, a spokesman for the Maritime Prefecture said, who added that the water temperature was about 9ºC.

Survivors were evacuated to the coastal city of Calais in northwestern France.

These are the first migrant deaths recorded in the English Channel in 2024. The last shipwreck was recorded in December and claimed the lives of two migrants.

The French region of Calais is the starting point for migrants trying to reach the United Kingdom. This canal is the shortest journey to reach the country.

Hundreds of people are waiting in tents and makeshift shelters near the cities of Calais and Dunkirk, waiting for the opportunity to cross, hiding in trucks or aboard small boats.

According to British authorities, about 30,000 migrants crossed the Channel in small boats in 2023, a third less than in 2022.

French officials say ships are becoming overloaded.

In November 2021, at least 27 people drowned after a boat capsized.

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