Over 20 migrants dead in deadliest Channel disaster
Over 20 migrants died Wednesday crossing the Channel from France to England when their boat sank off the northern port of Calais, authorities said, the deadliest single disaster on the intensively-used route.
The French interior ministry said in a statement that French patrol vessels found corpses and people unconscious in the water after a fisherman sounded the alarm about the accident. Police then said in a statement that "over 20" people had died.
Three helicopters and three boats have been deployed to take part in the search, local authorities said.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who is heading to the scene, wrote on Twitter that "many people" had died in the incident, adding that "the criminal nature of the smugglers who organize these crossings cannot be condemned enough."
"The disaster in the Channel is a tragedy," added Prime Minister Jean Castex. "My thoughts are with the many missing and injured, victims of criminal smugglers who exploit their distress and misery," he wrote on Twitter.
The disaster, the worst single loss of life recorded in recent times from migrant crossings in the Channel, comes as tensions grow between London and Paris over the record numbers of people crossing.