Sudanese migrant killed and 30 rescued after trying to cross the Channel

14 January 2022, 13:06 | Updated: 14 January 2022, 16:11

One person died during an apparent attempt at crossing the Channel
One person died during an apparent attempt at crossing the Channel. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

A migrant has died and 30 were rescued while trying to make the perilous Channel crossing from France to the UK.

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One man, in his twenties and believed to be of Sudanese origin, was found overboard and unconscious early on Friday while 25 were still on board and got picked up by rescue teams.

A further five people had made it to a sandbank. It is believed they were trying to make the dangerous journey despite the sub-zero temperatures on the French coast.

Temperatures plunged to below zero overnight, adding another deadly element to the already dangerous crossing.

The unconscious man was taken to the shore but declared dead.

French authorities have opened a manslaughter investigation into his death.

Meanwhile, a total of 32 people were rescued off Berck, near Calais.

They were all reported to be suffering from hypothermia.

The death toll follows the devastating loss of life in November last year, when 27 migrants were killed after their craft capsized. It is the worst incident of its kind on record.

At least 271 people managed to reach Britain on 10 small boats on Thursday. A young child was among them.

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A number of migrants made the journey over the Channel on Thursday
A number of migrants made the journey over the Channel on Thursday. Picture: Alamy

More than 450 people have crossed the Channel already in 2022, after a record 28,000 people travelled in 2021.

Around 35 people were escorted ashore in Dover on Friday afternoon, including one frail man who had to be supported by two officers.

A baby wrapped in a blanket was also seen to be carried ashore.

Border Force vessels have been active in the Channel for much of the day.

Mike Adamson, chief executive at British Red Cross, said: "It is devastating to hear that another person has lost their life attempting to cross the Channel.

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"Our thoughts are with them and their loved ones - who may not even know yet what has happened.

"This loss comes far too soon after the deaths of 27 people at the end of last year.

"Every death in the Channel is a tragedy. It should be unacceptable to us that people are having to make dangerous crossings in freezing conditions in search of safety.

"Nobody puts their life at risk like this unless they feel they have no other option and are utterly desperate.

"There are no simple answers, but we urge the Government to rethink its plans for making the UK's asylum system harder to access. This should start with ambitious plans for new safe routes and a commitment to resettle 10,000 people a year."

The tragedy follows a long-running dispute last year, with London and Paris trading criticism over the handling of the migrant crisis.