The sinking of a boat carrying migrants in the English Channel caused four deaths this Tuesday, including two children. After a still tentative equilibrium, this resulted in seven deaths in these waters this year.
According to the French authorities, a woman and two children, aged five and eight, are among the victims.
Another 15 people were saved and the search will continue overnight.
According to the statements of the migrants, “there is a missing person who could be a child,” said the mayor of Loon-Plage, Hervé Tourmente, during a press conference.
The remaining survivors, men, women and children of Iranian nationality, are, according to initial reports, “in a state of hypothermia,” including one “severe” case distributed from hospitals in Calais and Dunkirk.
The ship, apparently a tourist fishing boat, was described by an English sailor as capsized and sunk, whereupon an extensive search operation with six ships and aircraft was started.
Authorities are trying to “restore the maximum number of people” while the exact number of passengers has not yet been determined. According to Tourmente, however, they are “19 or 20”, which indicates that the climatic conditions for the crossing were “unfavorable”.
Today’s tragedy brings the number of migrants killed illegally crossing the English Channel since early 2020 to seven, after four deaths were reported in 2019, according to authorities.
Since 2018, however, attempts to cross have multiplied: between January 1 and August 31 of this year, 6,200 migrants tried their luck in a rubber dinghy for the richest, rowing, kayaking or simply a buoy for others.
In 2019, 2,358 people who attempted the crossing were rescued and returned to the French or British coasts, compared to 538 in 2018, according to data from the French Channel and North Sea Maritime Authority.