British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “shocked and appalled” after a boat full of migrants sank on its way from Calais, France.
According to Agence France-Presse, this is the deadliest accident to hit this busy migrant route between France and the United Kingdom since it was widely launched in 2018.
– This disaster in the channel is a tragedy, French Prime Minister Jean Castix tweeted after the accident.
The French Interior Ministry said, on Wednesday afternoon, that patrol boats found dead and unconscious people in the water after a fisherman sounded the alarm. French President Emmanuel Macron said, on Wednesday evening, that the death toll had risen to 31, but the Interior Ministry later reduced the number to 27.
At the same time, Macron said that he promised to find those responsible for the tragedy, and said that he would not allow the English Channel to become a “cemetery”.
The British Prime Minister also commented on the dramatic incident on Wednesday night:
“I was shocked and appalled,” said British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who described the incident as a “disaster”.
Investigation of the murder
French prosecutors have opened an investigation into the negligent homicide, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson called an emergency meeting after the drowning became known.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin was on his way to the site on Wednesday.
“The criminal nature of the smugglers who organize these crossings cannot be condemned enough,” Darmanin wrote on Twitter.
The incident occurred as Britain and France continue to debate how to deal with the influx of migrants and refugees. The British asked France to take stricter measures to prevent them from embarking on the voyage.
According to French authorities, 31,500 people have attempted this route to Britain so far this year. 7,800 people have been rescued at sea, and the number has doubled since August.
Before Wednesday’s tragedy, seven people were confirmed dead or feared dead in various accidents so far this year.
Correction: In an earlier version of the case, VG referred to the French newspaper La Voix du Nord which reported that 33 deaths had been confirmed. The newspaper later reduced the number to 31. This number was also reported by other French media. The issue was corrected on 24.11.21 on 22.24.
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