Boat sinks crossing the British Channel at least six killed

In a tragic turn of events, a boat carrying migrants capsized in the English Channel early Sunday, resulting in the death of at least six individuals. The boat was among numerous others attempting the perilous crossing from France to England, leading French authorities to launch a large-scale rescue operation around 6 a.m. local time.

Local mayor Franck Dhersin reported that several of the boats encountered significant difficulties during the crossing. The bodies of the deceased were discovered near the coastal town of Sangatte. French marine authorities have confirmed the death toll and stated that search-and-rescue operations are ongoing.

The English Channel has become a dangerous passage for thousands of migrants seeking asylum in the United Kingdom in recent years. Human traffickers often exploit these desperate individuals, packing them into makeshift dinghies that are barely seaworthy and highly vulnerable to the Channel’s heavy shipping traffic and turbulent waves.

One of the rescue boat volunteers shared the harrowing experience of rescuing 54 people from the capsized vessel. She described the desperate attempts of the migrants to keep their sinking boat afloat, even resorting to using their shoes to bail out water.

In response to the tragedy, French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne announced that junior Maritime Affairs Minister Herve Berville would be dispatched to Calais, near the site of the capsizing. The British coastguard also contributed to the rescue efforts, sending a lifeboat from Dover along with a coastguard rescue team and ambulance staff.

British Home Secretary, Suella Braverman, expressed her condolences for the tragic loss of life. She also acknowledged the efforts of the Border Force teams in supporting the French authorities during this incident.

According to the U.K. government, over 100,000 migrants have attempted the crossing from France to England since 2018. This year alone, nearly 16,000 migrants have tried to make the perilous journey. British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged to halt these dangerous crossings, a promise that has come under scrutiny as the number of asylum seekers continues to rise.