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Son dakika Dozens of migrants and refugees die in English Channel boat disaster SonDakika-Haberleri.Net

Sondakika-haberleri.Net

Son dakika Dozens of migrants and refugees die in English Channel boat disaster SonDakika-Haberleri.Net

Sondakika-haberleri.Net

Son dakika Dozens of migrants and refugees die in English Channel boat disaster SonDakika-Haberleri.Net
25 Kasım 2021 - 09:57

Sondakika haberleri

British and French officials have traded blame after 27 migrants and refugees died when their dinghy deflated as they made a perilous crossing of the English Channel.

Wednesday's accident was the worst disaster on record involving migrants and refugees in the narrow seaway separating the two countries.

The Channel is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and currents are strong. Human traffickers typically overload the dinghies, leaving them barely afloat and at the mercy of waves as they try to reach British shores.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was "shocked and appalled" by the deaths and called on France to do more to deter people from attempting the crossing. 

People trafficking gangs were "literally getting away with murder", he said.

President Emmanuel Macron said Britain needed to stop politicising the issue for domestic gain, while his Interior Minister, Gerald Darmanin, said Britain too had to be a part of the answer.

France had earlier stated 31 people lost their lives, but the number was later revised down to 27, government officials said.

Two migrants were critically ill in hospital with severe hypothermia, Darmanin said.

French police arrested four human traffickers suspected of involvement in the accident. Darmanin said the nationalities and identities of the migrants and refugees were not known.

READ MORE:Most people getting into the UK by boat are refugees, not economic migrants

READ MORE:UK orders review into English Channel migrant crisis

A graveyard of a Channel

Regaining control of Britain's borders was a totem for Brexit campaigners ahead of the 2016 referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union and the flow of refugees and migrants, though relatively low in absolute terms, is a point of friction between London and Paris.

French President Macron said the EU's border agency Frontex should get more financial means to protect the bloc's external borders, thereby helping prevent migrants from gathering on France's northern shores.

Britain has in past weeks accused the French authorities of standing by while thousands of refugees and migrants leave their shores. France rejects the allegation.

"France will not let the Channel become a graveyard," Macron said.

 READ MORE: UK says ready to push migrant and refugee boats back to France

Fishermen alert authorities 

Before Wednesday's disaster, 14 people had drowned this year trying to make it to Britain, a local maritime prefecture official said. In 2020, a total of seven people died and two disappeared, while in 2019 four died.

Fisherman Nicolas Margolle told Reuters news agency he had seen two small dinghies earlier on Wednesday, one with people on board and another empty.

He said another fisherman had called rescue services after seeing an empty dinghy and 15 people floating motionless nearby, either unconscious or dead.

Darmanin said the migrants' dinghy had deflated, and when rescuers had arrived it was "deflated like an inflatable garden pool."

In his statement, Johnson said he and Macron had agreed to step up efforts to prevent the crossings.

READ MORE: France-Britain tensions soar over record migrant influx


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