'One migrant dead and another in critical condition' after boat carrying 66 people sinks in English Channel

15 December 2023, 06:50 | Updated: 15 December 2023, 07:20

File photo
File photo. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

One migrant has died and another is in a critical condition after the boat they were in on the English Channel got into trouble.

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The French coastguard said that the boat got into difficulties about five miles from the French coast, near the town of Grand-Fort Philippe.

The vessel was carrying 66 migrants.

The survivors have been taken to Calais, where the injured person is being treated.

French officials said they had discovered the boat partially deflated and with people in the water at about 1am on Friday.

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It was the first crossing attempt in 11 days because of bad weather, but 730 made the perilous journey in the first three days of the month.

Around 29,000 people have made the Channel crossing on small boats so far this year, which is down about a third compared to 2022.

The government has made 'stopping the boats' a key part of its pledge to the electorate. The Rwanda scheme to send migrants there is meant to be a deterrent to people making the journeys, which are run by criminal gangs.

A revised version of the scheme was voted through by the House of Commons on its first reading this week, after an earlier proposed law was rejected by the Supreme Court.

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More than 200 people have died at sea while trying to reach the UK since 2014, according to an estimate by the International Organization for Migration’s Missing Migrants Project.

Six people died in August when their boat sank off the French coast, and 27 died in a similar incident in November 2021.

It comes after a man also took his own life while being housed in the Bibby Stockholm temporary accommodation centre for migrants.

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