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Body of asylum seeker found on beach in France after dozens die in Channel tragedy


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The body of an asylum seeker who drowned in the worst-ever Channel crossing tragedy has been found washed up on a beach.

The harrowing discovery was made in Sangatte, northern France, a day after dozens died off Calais when their flimsy overloaded dinghy capsized.

The body of an asylum seeker has been recovered from a beach in France Picture: UKNIP
The body of an asylum seeker has been recovered from a beach in France Picture: UKNIP

KentOnline is choosing to show these images to demonstrate the human cost of yesterday's tragedy.

The death brings the toll to 28, a figure which includes three children and seven women, one of whom was pregnant.

Previously the figure was put at as high as 33 but has since been revised down, although it may be days before the true scale of the tragedy is known.

It was the worst tragedy yet, surpassing the deaths of a family of five, including a baby and two small children last October, and brings the crisis into sharp focus.

It is understood some of those on board the dinghy that capsized yesterday were Kurds, who had fled Iraq.

The Kurdish government has appealed to UK and EU officials for help to stop the migrant crisis.

Police at the scene Picture: UKNIP
Police at the scene Picture: UKNIP

Despite yesterday's tragedy more people have made the perilous journey across the world's busiest shipping lane today, with more than 200 thought to have arrived in Kent.

And many sat in camps in France said they would continue to try to make the trip, as they have for many years despite the obvious risks and previous deaths.

Fishermen were the first to come across the capsized dinghy yesterday at around 2pm.

They found around 15 motionless bodies floating in the icy water on a relatively calm day in the Channel.

The boat, described as like a "paddling pool" by French officials, was thought to have contained 50 people.

A French lifeboat worker who was one of the first to reach the scene told reporters in France he helped recover six bodies from the water.

"There were floating bodies - it was really very shocking," he said.

"We recovered six people - all dead. There was one woman who sadly was pregnant, and a young man 18 to 20 years old, and the rest were men."

The governments of Britain and France have pledged to step up their efforts to get a grip on the spiralling numbers of people risking their lives to get to the UK, packed into small boats by people trafficking gangs.

Boris Johnson today called for joint patrols with France.

But hours after the tragedy yesterday Mr Johnson had blamed France and Emmanuel Macron pointed the finger in the opposite direction.

Despite repeat vows from the Home Office to make the route "unviable" this year more than 25,700 have crossed, three times 2020's total.

The world's media reacted in shock following yesterday's atrocity.

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