Migrants channel crossing – Latest: Rescue operation underway as reports over 20 have died in boat sinking

<p>Migrants are helped by RNLI off the south-east coast of England on 24 November, 2021. </p>

Migrants are helped by RNLI off the south-east coast of England on 24 November, 2021.

At least 24 migrants have died after their inflatable boat capsized in the English Channel, a French official has said.

Franck Dhersin, the mayor of Teteghem, told the television channel France 3 dozens of people had died, adding that a further 26 people had been rescued.

“24 dead bodies have been taken out of the water as well as 26 people who were still alive,” he was quoted as saying.

A French coastguard official said on Wednesday afternoon that a rescue operation was underway off the coast of Calais, after a fishing boat sounded the alarm.

Responding to the fatalities, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who is heading to the scene, said: “Strong emotion in the face of the tragedy of numerous deaths due to the capsizing of a migrant boat in the English Channel.”

Meanwhile, French prime minister Jean Castex described the incident as a “tragedy”. “My thoughts are with the many missing and injured, victims of criminal smugglers who exploit their distress and injury,” he said.

The latest deaths come after a rise in Channel crossings this year. More than 25,700 people have made the dangerous journey from France to the UK so far in 2021, more than theee times higher than the total in 2020.

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At least 24 migrants dead after boat capsizes in Channel

Dozens of migrants have died after an inflatable dinghy capsized off the coast of France on Wednesday, a local mayor has said.

Franck Dhersin, the mayor of Teteghem, told the television channel France 3 that 24 people had died and that 26 others had been rescued.

Rory Sullivan24 November 2021 17:01
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Good afternoon and welcome to The Independent’s live coverage of today’s tragedy in the Channel. At least 24 migrants are thought to have died after their dinghy capsized off the coast of France. 

Rory Sullivan24 November 2021 16:59


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