Shocking picture shows all that remains of inflatable dinghy used in Channel tragedy

25 November 2021, 15:45

This is all that remained of the inflatable dinghy the migrants used to attempt to cross the Channel.
This is all that remained of the inflatable dinghy the migrants used to attempt to cross the Channel. Picture: Sky News

By Sophie Barnett

A picture has emerged of the remains of a "floating death trap" that capsized in the English Channel, leading to the tragic deaths of 27 people.

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Seventeen men, seven women and two teenage boys and a girl died on Wednesday while attempting to cross the Channel to the UK from France, French authorities have confirmed.

A picture has emerged of the flimsy inflatable boat - described as a "floating death trap" - which was used by migrants to attempt the perilous Channel crossing.

Tragically, the boat capsized in the water off the coast of Calais - and it is feared a number of people are still unaccounted for.

Read more: Latest updates on Channel tragedy

Bernard Barron, president of the SNSM rescue service in Calais, labelled the incident as a "group murder", describing the dinghy as a "floating death trap" that was only meant to hold a maximum of 10 people.

It has been widely reported that around 50 people were crammed onboard the boat.

French interior minister Gerald Darmanin said the inflatable was "very frail", adding it was "like a pool you blow up in your garden."

The search and rescue mission is continuing off the coast of northern France, with French police seen combing dunes.

Read more: RNLI receive outpouring of support for migrant rescue efforts after latest Channel tragedy

Both the French and UK Government have faced criticism for their "inaction" over the migrant crisis, which has seen record numbers cross the Channel this year - three times the number in 2020.

Amnesty International has said the Government must "urgently take decisive action to prevent more loss of life".

"The UK must make it a priority to share responsibility with other countries to receive people into its asylum system – they must do this by providing safe and legal routes and encourage others to do the same," said Refugee and Migrant Rights Director Steve Valdez-Symonds.

"Dangerous journeys take place because​ the Government provides no safe alternative for people to exercise their right to seek asylum here," he added.

"If the Government is truly concerned with tackling these gangs and their abuse of people, they must set up safe asylum routes, ​so people no longer need to depend on smugglers."

Read more: 'Not just a British problem': UK ready to send ground support to France, minister says

Home Secretary Priti Patel told MPs on Thursday the incident is "a dreadful shock" but "not a surprise".

"It is also a reminder of how vulnerable people are put at peril when in the hands of criminal gangs," Ms Patel said.

She described the crossings as "lethally dangerous" and said given the chance "traffickers will always find people to exploit and manipulate".

Ms Patel reiterated the need to "tackle issues upstream" instead of waiting until people have reached EU countries - pleading for a "Herculean effort" from other nations.