French police launch manslaughter probe after migrant death from sinking ship in Channel

FRENCH police have opened a manslaughter probe after a migrant drowned trying to reach the UK.

Border force officer describes conditions migrants face in Channel

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The migrant, believed to be in his 20s, drowned after a boat sank. The boat, carrying 36 people, got into difficulties around 13 miles off the coast of Dunkirk.

He was pulled unconscious onto a lifeboat by crew from a passing cargo ship at about 10am on Thursday.

After being airlifted to hospital in cardio-respiratory arrest, the migrant died.

Others from the sinking vessel were hoisted aboard the helicopter while more were rescued by nearby fishing boats.

The Dunkirk prosecutor’s office opened an investigation for manslaughter, endangering the lives of others, and people smuggling.

They confirmed that 36 people including families had been aboard the boat when it got into difficulty.

READ MORE: Migrants crossing English Channel pass 10,000 as daily record reached

French police have opened a manslaughter probe after a migrant drowned

French police have opened a manslaughter probe after a migrant drowned (Image: PREMARMANCHE)

The area in the port of Dover, Kent, where Border Force process migrants: Friday August 13, 2021

The migrant, believed to be in his 20’s, drowned after a boat sank (Image: PA)

A French border force source in France told the Daily Mail as many as 40 migrants were reported.

They said: “The Elena cargo ship reported as many 40 migrants in the sea.

“They were all on a flimsy boat that was thought to have been provided by people smugglers, before it sank.

“A search and rescue operation was launched, and it included the fishing vessels Nicolas Jérémy and Notre Dame de Boulogne, as well as a fast rescue boat from the Elena.”

A group of people thought to be migrants are brought in to Dover, Kent, onboard a Border Force vessel, following a small boat incident in the Channel:

Dunkirk’s prosecutor is investigating manslaughter, endangering the lives of others, and people smug (Image: PA)

Home Office’s clandestine channel threat commander Dan O’Mahoney said: “This loss of life is a tragedy and we are providing support to our French counterparts who are leading the response.

“This underlines the terrible dangers of small boat crossings and why we must work together with the French to prevent callous criminals exploiting vulnerable people.”

Lisa Doyle, director of advocacy and engagement at the Refugee Council, said: “This tragic loss of life is a sobering reminder that the odds are stacked against ordinary men, women and children, who are desperately struggling for safety and protection.”

So far in 2021, more than 10,000 people have made the deadly crossing aboard small boats.

Crossings in 2021 have already eclipsed last year’s annual total of 8,417.

At least 155 people were intercepted by French authorities and returned to the continent on Thursday.

August 5 saw a record daily total when 482 migrants crossed in one day.

Harry Byrne

Harry Byrne

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