6 migrants dead, 50 rescued from capsized boat in the English Channel

Source: CBS News

An overloaded boat carrying migrants capsized before dawn Saturday in the English Channel, killing at least six people and leaving more than 50 others to be rescued, according to French authorities.

About 65 people were estimated to have boarded the boat and two people may still be lost at sea, the Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea said.

When rescuers plucked people from the waters, six were initially in critical condition. One of those, who was flown by helicopter to a Calais hospital, was pronounced dead and the other five later perished and were ferried to shore.

“This morning, a migrant boat capsized off Calais,” French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on social media. “My thoughts are with the victims.”

The deaths come as Britain’s ruling Conservative party has sought to stop crossings of small, often unseaworthy, boats with a variety of policies that have come under fire for failing to stem the flow of migrants.

French authorities noted a marked increase in attempted crossings from the coast since Thursday during the onset of milder weather. British authorities said 755 people crossed the channel in small boats Thursday, the highest daily number this year.

Small boat arrivals are down 15% from the number at this point last year. As of Thursday, 15,826 had been detected in the year to date, compared to 18,600 at this time last year.

Last year, five migrants died and four were reported missing while attempting to cross from the northern coast of France. In November 2021, a boat carrying migrants sank, resulting in the deaths of 27 individuals.

U.K. Home Secretary Suella Braverman, who said on the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that there had been a “tragic loss of life,” met Saturday with Border Force officials.

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