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Migrants drown in the English Channel

30 Aug 2019

Following concerns about the growing number of refugees and migrants attempting the perilous crossing of the English Channel in small boats to reach British waters, some of the first deaths of people attempting the crossing have been recorded.

In one case, the body of a woman who fell from a small boat making the crossing in early August has been found in Dutch waters. She had been lost overboard off the Kent coast. There were 19 other people in the small boat, who were rescued and passed to the British authorities.

In a second case, a migrant trying to swim the Channel to England was believed to have drowned at a wind farm off the Belgian coast.

Although the numbers of refugees and migrants attempting the Channel crossing are far smaller than those crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe, there have been growing concerns about the risk to lives as they attempt to cross one of the world’s busiest sea lanes. A record number, 270, have already attempted the Channel crossing in August alone.

In the most recent incidents, the UK Border Force intercepted a dinghy with 11 people travelling towards the English coast and passed them to the authorities, and the French coastguard rescued 24 people after their dinghy got into difficulty off Dunkirk. 

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