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Man dies after being pulled from the English Channel off the coast of France


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A passenger attempting to cross the English Channel in a small boat which got into trouble off the French coast has drowned.

Early this morning the French authorities launched a search and rescue operation after the craft, which is understood to have been carrying 31 people, experienced difficulties off Berck-sur-Mer.

People being brought ashore in Dover earlier
People being brought ashore in Dover earlier

Sea and air resources were sent to the scene, and a man - reported to be in his 20s and of Sudanese origin - was pulled unconscious from the water. Five others were rescued from a sandbank.

The small boat, with 25 people still on board, was towed to Berck-sur-mer.

The unconscious man was declared dead on the shore.

This latest attempt at the dangerous journey to cross from France to the UK comes despite sub-zero temperatures on the French coast.

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

People continue to cross the Channel despite freezing temperatures
People continue to cross the Channel despite freezing temperatures

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

Bridget Chapman, from for Kent Refugee Action Network, said: "It is devastating that there has been yet another needless death in the Channel and our thoughts are with the friends and family of the person that has lost their life.

"There have now been dozens of deaths associated with this route and the government's chaotic approach has only served to make it even more dangerous, while also making it the only really viable option for the small number of people that want to make asylum claims in the UK.

"For years the refugee sector has been calling for a variety of measures to improve this situation. These include humanitarian visas and increasing the numbers of places available on resettlement programmes.

"Positive steps like these will make a genuine difference while the changes proposed under the government's Anti-Refugee Bill will only make a terrible situation much worse and lead to more deaths."

More migrants arrived at Dover later this afternoon aboard the BF Hurricane. Photo: UK News in Pictures
More migrants arrived at Dover later this afternoon aboard the BF Hurricane. Photo: UK News in Pictures

Despite the tragedy, later this afternoon, yet more migrants were brought ashore at Dover aboard the BR Hurricane. They included women and children. They had been taken off a boat near Ramsgate.

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