More than 20 migrants were killed on Wednesday when their boat capsized in the Channel between France and the United Kingdom. The French news station BFMTV reports 27 deaths. The accident happened off the coast of Calais in France, international news agencies reported on Thursday.
Also read: Belgium and France ask Frontex for help on the Channel
According to the French Ministry of the Interior, a fisherman found the bodies of 15 migrants floating off the coast of Calais on Wednesday afternoon around 2 p.m. The French navy has recovered several bodies on this. Five people were also taken unconscious from the water.
Until Wednesday’s incident, three migrants have died so far this year in the Channel while trying to make the crossing to the UK. Four people were also missing. Six people lost their lives on the water in 2020; in 2019, the French authorities recorded four deaths, according to the AFP news agency.
The number of people trying to reach the UK from France across the Channel has been rising rapidly in recent months. Since the beginning of 2021, a record number of people have tried to make the crossing: 23,000.
The problem is causing tensions between France and the United Kingdom. The latter threatened in September with pushing back migrants if France did not become more active in stopping migrants from making a crossing. Two weeks ago, British and French interior ministers Priti Patel and Gérald Darmanin discussed the dispute and agreed to prevent “100 percent” of the crossings. In response, France and Belgium have asked the border security agency Frontex for help.