Migrant dead with another critically ill after dramatic sinking and rescue in English Channel

Migrant dead with another critically ill after dramatic sinking and rescue in English Channel
Mark White

By Mark White

Published: 15/12/2023

- 07:26

Updated: 15/12/2023

- 10:16

In total, 66 people were rescued in the operation

One migrant has died another is critically injured in hospital after a dramatic rescue operation in the English Channel overnight.

The French coastguard was alerted just after 1am to reports that a migrant boat was sinking about 5 miles off Dunkirk.

One side of the boat was deflated, with dozens of migrants thrown into the water.

Five French vessels and the UK Coastguard helicopter have been involved in the rescue efforts.

Migrants on small boat in the channel

In total, 66 people were rescued in the operation (stock image)


In total, 66 people were rescued in the operation.

According to French authorities, one person succumbed to their injuries and could not be revived.

Another migrant was flown taken to hospital in Calais, but they are reported to be critically ill, in a life threatening condition.

A major air and sea search of the area about 5 miles off Gravelines beach is still underway this morning.

The UK Coastguard helicopter was involved in the rescue effortWIKICOMMONS

GB News Kent producer said that weather conditions were "difficult overnight with a few swells in the area."

There is no indication yet as to why the inflatable began sinking.

The search operation includes a hunt for any other migrant boats that might still be in the area and attempting to cross into UK waters.

Government minister Andrew Griffith said the news of another migrant tragedy in the English Channel showed why the crossing was "not a safe route" and why Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was 'cracking down on the terrible trade of people traffickers'.

Speaking this morning, the Science minister, said: “We are just hearing it now, but all of these are tragic stories.

“It shows once again the importance of cracking down on the terrible trade of people traffickers in the Channel.

“It is not a safe route, it is not a safe crossing. People shouldn't need to do that.

“It is why it is really important that the Government is taking action through things like the Illegal Migration Bill.”

As the search for anyone else who may have been on the small boat continues, GB News can reveal that another two migrant boats have been launched from French beaches, in an effort to reach the UK.

Both migrant boats are being escorted by French vessels as they make their way through 12 knot north westerly winds.

Enver Solomon, chief executive officer of the Refugee Council, said: “This is yet another terrible and avoidable tragedy. Our thoughts are with the victim, the survivors and their loved ones.

“These appalling deaths are becoming too common and there is an urgent need to put in place safe routes so people don’t have to take dangerous journeys across the world’s busiest shipping lane.

“Instead, the Government is pushing ahead with its unworkable and unprincipled Rwanda plan as well as shutting down existing safe ways to get to the UK.

“People flee persecution and violence out of desperation, to find safety and protect their families.

"The Government must take action now and respond in a compassionate way to prevent future tragedies and protect human life.”

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