The Channel’s Deadliest Migrant Boat Tragedy claims the lives of 27 people.


The Channel’s Deadliest Migrant Boat Tragedy claims the lives of 27 people.

At least 27 migrants perished on Wednesday when their boat drowned off the northern French coast on their way to England, the biggest accident since the Channel became a hub for illegal crossings.

President Emmanuel Macron promised that France would not allow the Channel to become a “cemetery,” and he called with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to agree on stepping up efforts to combat the traffickers blamed for the increase in crossings.

“The core ideals of Europe — humanism, respect for each person’s dignity — are in grief,” Macron added.

The accident resulted in the biggest death toll since at least 2018, when migrants began crossing the Channel in large numbers by boat. It comes as tensions between London and Paris rise over the unprecedented number of individuals crossing the English Channel.

After the boat sank off the coast of Calais, prosecutors launched a manslaughter investigation. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin announced the arrest of four alleged human traffickers suspected of being personally involved in the tragic journey in a long inflatable boat.

Only two survivors had been found, Darmanin informed reporters in Calais, and both of their lives were in jeopardy. Five women and one young girl were among those killed, according to him, while Calais mayor Natacha Bouchart stated a pregnant lady was also among the dead.

The migrants’ nationality was not immediately apparent. The initial death toll was reported to be 31, however the interior ministry later lowered it down to 27.

Prime Minister Jean Castex’s office said that a crisis meeting will be held early on Thursday.

After a fisherman raised the alarm, three helicopters and three boats scoured the region, revealing dead and people unconscious in the water, according to French officials.

Following a crisis conference with senior officials, Johnson stated he was “shocked, dismayed, and deeply grieved” by the loss of life at sea.

He did admit, though, that Britain had “difficulties persuading some of our allies, particularly the French, to do things in the way that the circumstances merits.”

Britain has asked France to take stricter measures to prevent migrants from making the journey.

The dispute has exacerbated post-Brexit tensions between Britain and France, which are already strained due to a disagreement over fishing rights.

“Of course, Britain must respond,” Darmanin added, calling for “a very harsh coordinated international response.”

Johnson and Macron agreed over the phone on the “urgency of stepping up collaborative efforts to avoid these fatal crossings” and other issues. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.


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