More than two dozen people drowned after the ship carrying them from France to Britain sank in the English Channel on Wednesday. Families with young children crowded into overcrowded things as they attempted the treacherous journey, which ended with the worst loss of life on record involving migrants in the narrow stretch of water.
A fishing boat alerted French officials to the bodies in the water. A joint Franco-British search and rescue mission saved dozens, but for many it was too late.
French authorities said women and a girl were among the dead.
The tragedy comes as the number of migrants attempting the dangerous crossing has skyrocketed this year. Despite the danger, more than 25,000 migrants have made the crossing in 2021, including more who arrived in Britain on Wednesday.
“My thoughts and condolences are, first of all, with the victims and their families. It is a terrible thing what they have suffered, but I also want to say that this disaster underscores how dangerous it is to cross the canal in this way.” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday.
France and Britain blame each other for not doing more to stem the flow of migrants on the busy sea route between northern France and southern England. Authorities on both sides of the canal had warned that it was only a matter of time before a tragedy like this occurred.