Migrant dies trying to cross the Channel from France to the UK

19 October 2020, 06:04

Migrants trying to cross to the UK being intercepted by Border Force (file image)
Migrants trying to cross to the UK being intercepted by Border Force (file image). Picture: PA

By Asher McShane

A migrant has died trying to cross the Channel from France to the UK.

The man was found on a beach near Sangatte outside Calais at around 8am on Sunday.

Local prosecutors said the man had been found wearing a life jacket and had almost certainly died trying to cross the Channel in a small boat.

Pascal Marconville said an initial examination of the body had revealed no evidence of third party involvement or of the decay associated with a long time in the water.

He said it was likely the victim had drowned trying to make the crossing this weekend and that his body had washed up on the shore just a few hours later.

Mr Marconville said officers investigating the incident would work with the migrant communities based in Calais and Dunkirk to try to establish his identity and the circumstances around his death.

Local news site La Voix du Nord reported that several other vessels had been intercepted on Sunday morning and made to return to Calais.

One contained 17 people, including a mother and three children suffering from hypothermia, La Voix du Nord said.

According to Home Office Figures, 170 migrants crossed the Channel in just 12 small boats on Saturday.

A further 222 were prevented from crossing by the French authorities.

It is expected that many more will have attempted to cross on Sunday while conditions on the water remained viable for the journey, if still extremely dangerous.

The co-founder of refugee charity Care4Calais, Clare Moseley, said: "Refugees take this risk because they are frightened, fleeing appalling horrors in some of the most dangerous places on earth.

"They do it because of the grim and unsanitary conditions in Calais, where they are constantly harassed and abused by the authorities.

"They do it because there is no safe and legal way to have their UK asylum claim heard."

Minister for Immigration Compliance and the Courts, Chris Philp, said on Saturday: "We are taking action at every step of these illegally facilitated journeys to make this route unviable.

"We are working closely with the French who today have stopped 222 people from making this dangerous crossing, seizing boats and equipment and intercepting people inland."

He added: "We are also committed to fixing the asylum system, to stop those who have no right to be in the UK coming here, to make it fairer and firmer, compassionate to those who need help and welcoming people through safe and legal routes."

In August, Sudanese national Abdulfatah Hamdallah, 28, also drowned trying to make the crossing in just a 3ft dinghy.

Twelve people have been arrested by the National Crime Agency (NCA) in connection with people smuggling in the past week.