Four migrants including children aged 5 and 8 dead after packed boat capsizes trying to cross Channel from France

4 weeks ago 6

FOUR people including two children aged five and eight are dead after a migrant boat capsized while crossing the Channel in high winds.

One man drowned when the boat sank, and three people died after they were pulled from the water alive with 14 others, said an official of France’s Nord department.

At least three people have died following the sinking of the boat near Dunkirk today, it has been reported

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At least three people have died following the sinking of the boat near Dunkirk today, it has been reportedCredit: AFP or licensors

At least 18 people have been rescued however after a huge search off Loon-Plage near Dunkirk.

Some of those rescued had gone into cardiac arrest, and others suffered hypothermia.

The group's small fishing boat capsized in the Channel at about 9:30 am, said official Herve Tourmente.

"It seems that one person, who might be an infant, is still missing," Tourmente said, noting that stormy conditions had made the attempted crossing especially perilous.

The migrants - all Iraqis and Kurdish Iranians - who were pulled from the sea have been taken care to Calais and Dunkirk hospitals, officials said.

They were reportedly making the dangerous crossing in a desperate bid to reach the UK.

A yachtsman from England reportedly triggered the alert after spotting the Rigid Hulled Inflatable Boat (RHIB) in trouble with about 20 on board.

French Coastguard were alerted by the sailing boat Marbuzet of the presence of a migrant vessel in difficulty in the Dunkirk channel.

Officials said the boat carrying the migrants sank, adding: "Search operations are still underway.

"At the same time, an operational PC was activated on land under the authority of the Dunkirk sub-prefect to coordinate the resources engaged by SDIS 59 and SAMU 59."

Police at Dunkirk port following the deaths of at least three migrants in the Channel

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Police at Dunkirk port following the deaths of at least three migrants in the ChannelCredit: AFP or licensors

An investigation was opened by Dunkirk's public prosecutor Sébastien Pive to identify the causes of the sinking.

Mr Pive said six migrants were taken into custody for interview.

The Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea warned of high winds at sea between today and Friday.

Southwest winds are predicated to reach 34.5mph with gusts of up to 57.5mph.

Several thousand people have attempted the crossing this year, often paying people traffickers to help them through one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in overloaded rubber dinghies.

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Britain has repeatedly pressed President Emmanuel Macron’s government to do more to prevent the migrants leaving France.

Before this tragedy, three people had lost their lives attempting to cross the Channel this year.

And in 2019, four refugees drowned making the perilous trip.

A ferry arriving in Dover today shows the choppy conditions in the Channel today

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A ferry arriving in Dover today shows the choppy conditions in the Channel todayCredit: Steve Finn

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.

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