WORLD NEWS

Migrant boat capsizes in English Channel; at least 31 dead

Nov 24, 2021, 12:11 PM | Updated: Feb 14, 2023, 4:14 pm

FILE -- DOVER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: A ship carrying freight moves through a rain storm in the Eng...

FILE -- DOVER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: A ship carrying freight moves through a rain storm in the English Channel on November 01, 2021 in Dover, England. A dispute between the UK and France over fishing rights appeared to escalate over the weekend, after the countries' leaders held a 30-minute meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Rome. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

(Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

PARIS (AP) — At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel in the “biggest tragedy” involving migration to have taken place on the dangerous crossing to date, according to France’s interior minister.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 34 people were believed to have been on the boat. Authorities found 31 bodies and two survivors. One person appeared to still be missing.

A joint French-British operation to search for survivors was still under way Wednesday evening.

While the incident was the deadliest day in the channel to date, Darmanin noted other deadly incidents in the past and lashed out at “criminal traffickers” driving thousands to risk the crossing.

The nationalities of the travelers was not released.

Britain’s prime minister convened a meeting of the government’s crisis committee, and France’s interior minister rushed to see survivors in a Calais hospital. The two governments have long been at odds over how to prevent the increasingly dangerous migrant crossings, with both sides blaming the other for not doing enough.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “shocked, appalled and deeply saddened.”

A French naval boat spotted several bodies in the water around 2 p.m. and retrieved an unknown number of dead and injured, including some who were unconscious, a maritime authority spokesperson said.

Three French patrol boats were joined by a French helicopter and a British helicopter in searching the area, according to the French maritime agency for the region.

Jean-Marc Puissesseau, head of the ports of Calais and Boulogne, told The Associated Press that he spoke to one of the rescuers who brought some of the bodies to the Calais port.

“Traffickers are assassins,” he said. “We were waiting for something like this to happen.”

While deaths are occasionally reported on the crossing, such a large number of people losing their lives in one boat is rare.

The victims’ nationalities were not immediately released. People fleeing conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and Sudan have been among those gathered along towns in northern France seeking to cross to Britain.

“Strong emotion after the drama of numerous dead in the sinking of a boat of migrants in the channel,” Darmanin tweeted. He slammed migrant smuggling networks that organize such journeys.

The Dunkirk prosecutor’s office said it opened an investigation for aggravated manslaughter in the wake of the tragedy.

The number of migrants using small boats to cross the channel has grown sharply this year, despite the high risks that are worsening in autumn weather. A number of people are also believed to have reached Britain in small boats on Wednesday.

More than 25,700 people have made the dangerous journey in small boats this year — three times the total for the whole of 2020.

With changeable weather, cold seas and heavy maritime traffic, the crossing is dangerous for the inflatables and other small boats that men, women and children squeeze into.

French and British authorities have picked up thousands of migrants off both the French and British coasts in recent weeks in scores of rescue operations.

“How many more times must we see people lose their life trying to reach safety in the UK because of the woeful lack of safe means to do so?” said Tom Davies, Amnesty International U.K.’s refugee and migrant rights campaign manager.

“We desperately need a new approach to asylum, including genuine Anglo-French efforts to devise safe asylum routes to avoid such tragedies happening again,” he added.

Johnson said more needed to be done to “break the business model of the gangsters who are sending people to sea in this way.”
___
Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

KSL 5 TV Live

World News

People wade through a street flooded by heavy rain in Peshawar, Pakistan on Monday, April 15.
Manda...

Sophia Saifi, Asim Khan, Masoud Popalzai, Irene Nasser and Kathleen Magramo, CNN

More than 100 killed across Pakistan and Afghanistan as flash floods and heavy rains sweep the region

Unseasonal rainfall has lashed Pakistan and Afghanistan over the past few days, killing more than 100 people across the neighboring countries

3 hours ago

Cars are stuck on a flooded road after a rainstorm hit Dubai, United Arab Emirates on Wednesday. (R...

Nadeen Ebrahim, Mary Gilbert and Brandon Miller

Chaos in Dubai as UAE records heaviest rainfall in 75 years

Chaos ensued in the United Arab Emirates after the country witnessed the heaviest rainfall in 75 years.

4 hours ago

A portrait of the iconic former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, painted by Graham Sutherl...

Associated Press

A painting of Winston Churchill by an artist whose work he hated is up for auction

A portrait of Winston Churchill by an artist whose work the British leader loathed went on display Tuesday at Churchill’s birthplace ahead of an auction in June.

21 hours ago

FILE: Getty Images...

Sylvia Hui, Associated Press

UK lawmakers will vote on a landmark bill to gradually phase out smoking

A plan by Britain’s government to introduce a landmark smoking ban that aims to stop young people from ever smoking is set to clear its first hurdle on Tuesday, despite vocal opposition from within Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party.

1 day ago

ATHENS, GREECE - APRIL 16: Greek actress Mary Mina (R), playing the role of the High Priestess, lig...

Nicholas Paphitis

Despite weather glitch, the Paris Olympics flame is lit at the Greek cradle of ancient games

Even without the help of Apollo, the flame that is to burn at the Paris Olympics was kindled Tuesday at the site of the ancient games in southern Greece.

1 day ago

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 15: The Sydney Opera House is illuminated with a black ribbon in honour o...

Mark Baker and Rod McGuirk

Horrified worshipers watch online and in person as a bishop is stabbed at a church in Sydney

Horrified worshipers watched in person and online as a bishop was stabbed at the altar during a church service in Sydney on Sunday evening.

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Migrant boat capsizes in English Channel; at least 31 dead