Wednesday, January 19th, 2022

Person declared dead after being pulled from Channel | Immigration and asylum

A person has been declared dead after being pulled from the Channel, French authorities have said.

One individual was found overboard and unconscious in the early hours of Friday after a boat believed to be heading for the UK got into difficulty off the French coast.

Twenty-five people were found onboard the boat and were picked up by rescue teams, while five others were found on a sandbank. The unconscious person was taken to shore but was declared dead.

An investigation has been opened by the Boulogne-sur-Mer prosecutor.

The latest attempts at the dangerous crossing come despite sub-zero temperatures on the French coast, with at least one boat reported to have reached the UK.

Multiple Border Force vessels have been active in the Channel.

The death comes after at least 271 people onboard 10 small boats reached Britain on Thursday, including a young child. So far this year, more than 450 people have made the life-threatening trip in small boats after a record-breaking year in 2021.

Mike Adamson, chief executive at British Red Cross, said: “It is devastating to hear that another person has lost their life attempting to cross the Channel. Our thoughts are with them and their loved ones, who may not even know yet what has happened. This loss comes far too soon after the deaths of 27 people at the end of last year.

“Every death in the Channel is a tragedy. It should be unacceptable to us that people are having to make dangerous crossings in freezing conditions in search of safety. Nobody puts their life at risk like this unless they feel they have no other option and are utterly desperate.

“There are no simple answers, but we urge the government to rethink its plans for making the UK’s asylum system harder to access. This should start with ambitious plans for new safe routes and a commitment to resettle 10,000 people a year.”

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