Migrant dies in the Channel as crossings reach more than 450 just two weeks into 2022

A migrant has died in the Channel this morning while French crews have rescued another 30 people after they ran into difficulties while attempting to reach the UK.

The man, believed to be in his 20s and from Sudan, died after falling into the water while making the perilous crossing from northern France to Britain this morning. He was found and unconscious and taken back to shore for treatment, but was later declared dead.

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

As many as three migrants could still be missing according to testimonies from those who were rescued, according to reports in French media. An investigation into what happened has been opened by the Boulogne-sur-Mer prosecutor.

The latest death in the Channel, believed to be the first this year, comes after 27 migrants drowned in November after their dinghy capsized near Calais. Five women and a young girl were among the victims.

At least 39 people are believed to have died attempting the Channel crossing last year, according to figures from the International Organization for Migration.

Charity bosses and MPs described today’s death in the Channel as a ‘tragedy’ and urged the Government to act to end the dangerous small boat crossings. 

It comes as figures today show more than 450 migrants have crossed the Channel from France to the UK in two weeks. A total of 271 migrants were confirmed to have made the dangerous crossing on Thursday – bringing the total number of arrivals so far this year to at least 458. 

The total number of migrant arrivals yesterday was more than entire figure for January last year – when 223 people in 15 boats crossed the Channel in 31 days.

More than 28,381 people crossed the Channel to the UK across the whole of 2021, compared to 8,400 in 2020.

Footage from this morning shows an RNLI lifeboat bringing a group of migrants into Dover in the early hours, when air temperatures were as low as 6C (42F).

Sea temperatures meanwhile were also around 9.5C (49F). Experts say the average person can afford to be in water that cold for ‘between five and ten minutes’ before risking hypothermia. 

The RNLB City of London II Dover Lifeboat brought the group of young men wearing jackets and woolly hats into Dover Marina.

One gave a thumbs up to celebrate arriving around 2am as their large black RHIB was left in the harbour filled with discarded equipment and an outboard engine.

Meanwhile, around 45 migrants were brought ashore by an RNLI lifeboat at Dungeness last night – the first crossing of its kind so far this year.

French authorities also prevented 75 people from making the dangerous journey across the Dover Strait in three incidents, according to the Home Office.  

Those arriving at Dover this morning, all of whom appeared to be men, were seen wrapped up in thick coats as they were led up from the lifeboat at to the shore.

Those brought to shore in Dungeness, all said to be men and all of whom are said to have claimed to be from Syria, were escorted off an RNLI lifeboat before being taken to Border Force staff to be processed.

A migrant has died in the Channel this morning while French crews have rescued another 30 people after they ran into difficulties while attempting to reach the UK. Pictured: Migrants are escorted into the Port of Dover today

The man, believed to be in his 20s and from Sudan, died after falling into the water while making the perilous crossing from northern France to Britain this morning. He was found and unconscious and taken back to shore for treatment, but was later declared dead. Pictured: A migrant is escorted into the Port of Dover by a Border Force official after being rescued while crossing the English Channel

The man, believed to be in his 20s and from Sudan, died after falling into the water while making the perilous crossing from northern France to Britain this morning. He was found and unconscious and taken back to shore for treatment, but was later declared dead. Pictured: A migrant is escorted into the Port of Dover by a Border Force official after being rescued while crossing the English Channel

Charity bosses and MPs described today's death in the Channel as a 'tragedy' and urged the Government to act to end the dangerous small boat crossings. Pictured: A British Border Force staff member inspects a dinghy used by migrants at Dover harbour, in Dover

Charity bosses and MPs described today’s death in the Channel as a ‘tragedy’ and urged the Government to act to end the dangerous small boat crossings. Pictured: A British Border Force staff member inspects a dinghy used by migrants at Dover harbour, in Dover

More than 450 migrants have crossed the Channel in two weeks, new figures show, as around a dozen more people were rescued and brought into Dover today (pictured)

More than 450 migrants have crossed the Channel in two weeks, new figures show, as around a dozen more people were rescued and brought into Dover today (pictured)

Footage from this morning shows an RNLI lifeboat bringing a group of migrants into Dover in the early hours, when air temperatures were as low as 6C (42F)

Footage from this morning shows an RNLI lifeboat bringing a group of migrants into Dover in the early hours, when air temperatures were as low as 6C (42F)

Around 45 migrants were brought ashore by an RNLI lifeboat at Dungeness last night (pictured) - the first crossing of its kind so far this year

Around 45 migrants were brought ashore by an RNLI lifeboat at Dungeness last night (pictured) – the first crossing of its kind so far this year

Police officers stand next to a boat after a rescue operation of migrants who tried to cross the Channel, in Berck, France

Police officers stand next to a boat after a rescue operation of migrants who tried to cross the Channel, in Berck, France

How many migrants have crossed the Channel from France to the UK since the start of the year? 

According to Home Office figures: 

January 4 – 66 

January 10 – 96 

January 12 – 25

January 13 – 271

January 14 – Believed to be around 100 so far according to officials and not yet confirmed by the Home Office

 

It comes as figures show as many as 100 migrants have died or have gone missing while attempting to cross the Channel in the last three years.

Statistics from the International Organization for Migration show 39 migrants died attempting to cross the Channel last year – with a further five reported missing.

The figures are preliminary but are ‘not expected to change dramatically’ before a final report is published next month.

It compares to 10 deaths and three missing in 2020 and 50 dead or missing in 2019.

A total of 196 migrants have gone missing in the Channel attempting to reach the UK since 2014, according to the Missing Migrants Project.

Minister for Justice and Tackling Illegal Migration, Tom Pursglove MP, said: ‘People fleeing persecution should seek safety in the first safe country they reach and not risk their lives paying criminal gangs to cross the Channel.

‘This Government is reforming our approach to illegal entry to the UK and asylum by making the tough decisions to end the overt exploitation of our laws and its impact on UK taxpayers.

‘The public have rightly had enough of the blatant disregard of our immigration laws and we are bringing in necessary long-term changes.

‘The Nationality and Borders Bill will make it a criminal offence to knowingly arrive in the UK illegally and introduce life sentences for those who facilitate illegal entry into the country.

‘It will also strengthen the powers of Border Force to stop and redirect vessels, while introducing new powers to remove asylum seekers to have their claims processed outside the UK.’  

Meanwhile, Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke called for an end to Channel migrant crossings. She said: ‘These Channel crossings are incredibly unsafe and it is so sad that there has been another tragic death at sea.

‘Lives of vulnerable people are at risk every single day the small boat crisis continues. The right and compassionate thing to do is to keep people safe. People are safe in France. 

‘There are safe and legal routes to come to the UK. People should not make these dangerous crossings.’ 

But Mike Adamson, chief executive at British Red Cross, urged the Government to act over Channel crossings, calling for ministers to open up official and safe routes for asylum seekers to reach the UK.

Mr Adamson, whose charity is the UK’s largest provider of support to refugees and people seeking asylum, said: ‘It is devastating to hear that another person has lost their life attempting to cross the Channel. 

Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke called for an end to Channel migrant crossings. She said: 'These Channel crossings are incredibly unsafe and it is so sad that there has been another tragic death at sea.'

Dover and Deal MP Natalie Elphicke called for an end to Channel migrant crossings. She said: ‘These Channel crossings are incredibly unsafe and it is so sad that there has been another tragic death at sea.’

‘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. 

‘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.’

Meanwhile, Steve Valdez-Symonds, Amnesty International UK’s Refugee and Migrant Rights Director, said: ‘Once again someone has lost their life in tragic and avoidable circumstances, and our thoughts are with the family and friends suffering this devastating loss.

‘This tragedy is made all the more unbearable because of the refusal of governments on both sides of the Channel to address the needs and rights of people compelled to attempt these dangerous journeys.

‘We’ve repeatedly called for a humane and pragmatic asylum policy – one which recognises that the UK must take its share of responsibility for providing asylum, including to many of the people trapped in intolerable conditions in northern France, particularly where they have family and other connections in the UK.

‘Unless it’s drastically amended, the draconian Nationality and Borders Bill now going through Parliament is set to make the lives of people seeking asylum even harsher while allowing smugglers and other abusers to continue to profit from this completely unacceptable situation.’

Kent Refugee Action Network, which supports young refugees in Kent, also tweeted: ‘This is just too awful for words and our thoughts are with his friends and family.

‘We need safe routes now. Failure to provide them will only create the conditions for more deaths. The government bears responsibility for that.’

It comes as pictures showed a young boy and a baby wrapped in a blanket who was among a group of up to 80 migrants who arrived on British shores on Thursday.

The boy, who was pictured hand in hand with another migrant and a Border Force officer, was among a group of migrants who were escorted onto dry land at Dover at around 1pm.

Shortly after 3pm, a further 27 migrants were brought into Dover Marina. A young girl, wearing a navy polka dot coat, was hysterically crying after being woken up from a deep sleep to be carried up the gangway by a Border Force officer.

She was with two other men and women, along with a young boy wearing a red jacket who appeared uneasy on his feet.

French authorities also prevented 75 people from making the dangerous journey across the Dover Strait in three incidents, according to the Home Office. Pictured: Migrants arriving in Dover today

French authorities also prevented 75 people from making the dangerous journey across the Dover Strait in three incidents, according to the Home Office. Pictured: Migrants arriving in Dover today

The group arrived in thick jackets and were brought ashore before being processed by Border Force officials

The group arrived in thick jackets and were brought ashore before being processed by Border Force officials

The small boat that the migrant group were recused from was also brought into Dover along the migrants who were rescued

The small boat that the migrant group were recused from was also brought into Dover along the migrants who were rescued

The RNLI lifeboat bringing migrants to the shore in Dover after rescuing the group from the Channel in the early hours of this morning

The RNLI lifeboat bringing migrants to the shore in Dover after rescuing the group from the Channel in the early hours of this morning

These crossings followed the arrival of a group of migrants this morning. Among them was a baby draped in a blanket. They arrived after several vessels were allegedly reported in the thick fog in the English Channel carrying dozens of people on board.

The men, woman and children were brought into Dover by an RNLI lifeboat looking cold and tired amid freezing temperatures before dawn today as they were helped ashore by immigration officials and paramedics.

The group was brought to shore by the RNLB City of London II Dover Lifeboat around 6am yesterday after making the journey overnight.

One man carried a baby wearing a white woolly hat wrapped in a maroon blanket as they disembarked followed by a woman and young boy. Medics helped another woman up the gangway for processing.

Around an hour later, the RNLI’s lifeboat based in Dungeness, named The Morrell, brought another group of migrants in, mainly consisted of men wearing thick winter coats. 

The group arriving shortly after 1pm disembarked Border Force’s large catamaran Hurricane and were escorted up the gangway for processing.

Another boat is believed to have been intercepted a few miles off Dungeness, Kent around the same time, meaning up to nine have made the crossing today.  

They were transferred onto a Border Force vessel to be brought up the coast to Dover. It is not known how many migrants were on board each boat.

Among the 3pm arrivals was a young girl, wearing a navy polka dot coat, who was hysterically crying after being woken up from a deep sleep to be carried up the gangway by a Border Force officer.

She was with a man and woman – who were followed by a young boy, who appeared uneasy on his feet wearing a red jacket, and another man and woman. 

The families were followed by a further 21 men in what is expected to be the last crossing of the day. A Maritime and Coastguard Agency spokesman confirmed it sent its fixed-wing aircraft to a search and rescue incident off the Kent coast in the early hours.

A young boy and a baby wrapped in a blanket were among up to 80 migrants who arrived on British shores yesterday, marking the fifth consecutive day of dangerous Channel crossings. The boy, who was pictured hand in hand with another migrant and a Border Force officer, was among a group of migrants who were escorted onto dry land at Dover at around 1pm yesterday

A young boy and a baby wrapped in a blanket were among up to 80 migrants who arrived on British shores yesterday, marking the fifth consecutive day of dangerous Channel crossings. The boy, who was pictured hand in hand with another migrant and a Border Force officer, was among a group of migrants who were escorted onto dry land at Dover at around 1pm yesterday

The group disembarked Border Force's large catamaran Hurricane and were escorted up the gangway for processing

The group disembarked Border Force’s large catamaran Hurricane and were escorted up the gangway for processing

At least 80 migrants are believed to have arrived on UK shores today. Above: A boy is seen among migrants escorted at Dover yesterday

At least 80 migrants are believed to have arrived on UK shores today. Above: A boy is seen among migrants escorted at Dover yesterday

A man carries a sleeping child wrapped in a blanket ashore as more migrants arrive at Dover in Kent yesterday morning

A man carries a sleeping child wrapped in a blanket ashore as more migrants arrive at Dover in Kent yesterday morning

The group are brought ashore on an RNLI lifeboat in Dover yesterday  morning after making the perilous cross-Channel journey

The group are brought ashore on an RNLI lifeboat in Dover yesterday  morning after making the perilous cross-Channel journey

They said: ‘HM Coastguard has been coordinating a search and rescue response to an incident off Kent, working with Border Force, Kent Police and other partners. We sent the coastguard fixed-wing aircraft and Dover RNLI lifeboat.’   

It comes after the first crossing of 2022 on January 4 when 66 migrants arrived, followed by 96 more on Monday. 

Last year a record-breaking 28,381 people reached Britain from northern France by making the perilous Channel crossing, a huge increase on the 8,410 who made the trip in 2020.

November 2021 saw the worst tragedy since the start of the crisis when 27 men, women and children died after their dinghy sank in the freezing cold waters. 

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