Person pulled from English Channel declared dead amid fresh wave of crossings

They were found overboard and unconscious in the early hours of Friday, off the coast of France.

French patrol boat
French patrol boat

A person has been declared dead after being pulled from the water in the English Channel, French authorities have said.

One individual was found overboard and unconscious in the early hours of Friday after a boat believed to be heading for the UK got into difficulty off the coast of France.

Twenty-five people were found still on board the boat and were picked up by rescue teams, while five others were found on a sandbank.

The unconscious person was taken back to shore but was declared dead.

An investigation into what happened has been opened by the Boulogne-sur-Mer prosecutor.

The latest attempts at the dangerous journey come despite sub-zero temperatures on the French coast.

Channel crossings
Dozens of people thought to be migrants were brought to Dover on Thursday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Multiple Border Force vessels have been active in the Channel and at least one boat is reported to have reached the UK.

It comes after at least 271 people aboard 10 small boats reached the UK on Thursday, including a young child.

So far this year, more than 450 people have made the life-threatening trip across the Channel in small boats following a record-breaking year in 2021.

Mike Adamson, chief executive at British Red Cross, said: “It is devastating to hear that another person has lost their life attempting to cross the Channel. Our thoughts are with them and their loved ones – who may not even know yet what has happened.

“This loss comes far too soon after the deaths of 27 people at the end of last year.

“Every death in the Channel is a tragedy. It should be unacceptable to us that people are having to make dangerous crossings in freezing conditions in search of safety. Nobody puts their life at risk like this unless they feel they have no other option and are utterly desperate.

“There are no simple answers, but we urge the Government to rethink its plans for making the UK’s asylum system harder to access. This should start with ambitious plans for new safe routes and a commitment to resettle 10,000 people a year.”

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