Tue. May 28th, 2024

Five asylum seekers, including a child, have died while crossing the English Channel from France to Britain in an overcrowded small boat, just hours after the British government approved a bill to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda.

The boat carrying 112 people set out from Wimereux, about 32km (20 miles) southwest of the French port of Calais, to cross one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

Rescuers picked up 49 people, and four were taken to hospital, but others stayed on the boat and continued their journey to Britain.

“A tragedy occurred on a boat overloaded with migrants early this morning. We deplore the deaths of five people, a seven-year-old girl, a woman and three men,” local prefect Jacques Billant told reporters on Tuesday.

“The engine stopped a few hundred metres away from the shore, and several people fell into the water.”

The French coastguard said 58 people stayed on board and it was still searching for any other survivors.

“They did not want to be rescued. They managed to restart the engine and headed towards Britain,” Billant said.

More than 6,000 people have arrived in Britain this year on small, overloaded boats that risk being lashed by waves as they try to reach British shores.

By Joy

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