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Five people die on migrant boat crossing from France in freezing cold

Five people have died after a boat carrying migrants got into trouble after attempting to launch from a beach south of Calais, according to reports in France.

The incident happened near Wimereux in the early hours of Sunday morning. French paper La Voix du Nord said 72 people, including 10 children, were rescued and taken to Calais while one person was taken to hospital in Boulogne.

The paper said the migrants got into difficulty while trying to board the boat in darkness and cold temperatures. It was initially reported that four people had died, before this afternoon a fifth was confirmed.

A Navy helicopter, police and 50 firefighters were involved in the rescue operation.

The Home Office has yet to comment but speaking on the BBC on Sunday morning, foreign secretary David Cameron said the deaths were a tragedy but the incident highlighted how the UK ‘needed to stop the boats’.

The UK Coastguard could not comment because the incident took place in French territorial waters.

The latest tragedy came the day after former home secretary Suella Braverman took another shot at Rishi Sunak, accusing the prime minister of relying on “bad weather” to stop small boat crossings.

Ms Braverman lashed out at the PM after Britain saw the first arrivals cross the channel this year on Saturday.

The country had seen zero arrivals in 26 days, which was the longest period of no small boat crossings since 2020.

But, as the poor weather eased, around 50 people were reportedly brought ashore from the channel by the UK Border Force.

The first crossings of 2024 come as the row over the government’s troubled Rwanda plan continues to cause schisms in the Conservative party.

Lord Cameron said the deaths of four people crossing the English channel from France is “heartbreaking”.

The foreign secretary said the “appalling” deaths in the bitter cold channel in the middle of the night “breaks my heart”.

And he said the tragedy shows “why we have got to stop the boats” crossing in the first place

He said in an ideal world migrants would be immediately returned to France, which would “collapse the whole trade”.

“That is not available, and that is why we are pursuing the [deportation] policy with Rwanda,” Lord Cameron said.

Sir Keir Starmer said the deaths were a “tragic loss of life” and his thoughts were with “family members and friends grieving the awful way these four individuals lost their lives”.

“In a sense we don’t need to know the details, to lose your life in a small dinghy or boat in the winter in the channel is just awful,” the Labour leader said.

But he disagreed with Lord Cameron’s suggestion the deaths show the need to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda.

Rishi Sunak is facing a showdown over the Rwanda plan he claims will tackle the small boats crisis

Xural.com

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