Five migrants die trying to cross the English Channel

WIMEREUX, FRANCE – An incident off the coast of Wimereux, south of Calais, resulted in the deaths of five individuals, including a child, as they attempted to cross the English Channel, according to French authorities.

The Pas-de-Calais prefect’s office reported that a small boat, carrying over 110 people, embarked from Plage des Allemands at Wimereux around 5 a.m. on Tuesday. Despite initially hitting a sandbank, the boat continued its perilous journey to sea. The casualties included three men, a woman, and a child, believed to be four years old. Another passenger sustained minor injuries.

In response to the incident, the Calais prefect visited the scene, and a formal investigation has been initiated by the public prosecutor at Boulogne-sur-Mer to uncover the circumstances surrounding this tragic event.

This incident occurred only hours after the UK government, led by Rishi Sunak, passed a controversial law permitting the deportation of asylum seekers arriving in the UK on small boats to Rwanda. Sunak defended the legislation, arguing that these heartbreaking incidents underscore the necessity of his plan, aimed at disrupting the exploitative practices of criminal gangs and preventing dangerous sea crossings.

UK Home Secretary James Cleverly echoed these sentiments, stating his refusal to accept a status quo that costs so many lives. He emphasized the government’s commitment to ending this illicit trade and breaking the business model of people-smuggling gangs.

However, this year, over 6,000 people have made this dangerous journey, marking a 25% increase compared to the same period last year. The Home Office’s senior civil servant, Matthew Rycroft, who has been overseeing the Rwanda scheme for two years, admitted that there is no evidence to suggest that the scheme would deter asylum seekers.

The Channel crossing, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, is notoriously dangerous due to strong currents and overloaded, unseaworthy dinghies used by people smugglers. The tragic event has sparked criticism from organizations like the Refugee Council in the UK, which described the incident as “devastating” and “all the more tragic” coming just hours after the Rwanda bill was passed.