31 migrants dead in boat tragedy off UK coast

Image copyright PA Image caption At least 31 migrants have died trying to cross the Channel

A boat containing a total of 31 migrants has capsized en route to the UK from France.

British officials described the disaster off the coast of Dover on Thursday morning as “possibly one of the worst in recent years”.

At least one survivor and an Eritrean man found in Dover have been taken to Dover Coastguard station.

Another man has died after being rescued. The remains of the boat have been recovered and an investigation launched.

A coastguard spokeswoman said the incident happened at about 07:50 GMT but was still being investigated.

She said the coastguard, French police and Royal Navy were at the scene.

Officials have not officially named the group of migrants found ashore.

Cafe worker Tiziana Leonardo reported to the BBC on Friday that she saw six survivors disembark on the beach near the Bay of Gibralter cafe.

She said that a child was the youngest and that migrants were also seen with their arms hanging out of a dinghy and carrying their belongings on their backs.

In 2015, 58 people died trying to make the trip from the north of France to southern England.

Image copyright SWNS Image caption French fishermen have become increasingly angered at the number of migrants who attempt to cross the English Channel

A handful died at the end of 2017 when a boat carrying around 250 people got into difficulty in the Channel off Dover.

In March 2018, 75 people were rescued from an inflatable boat that ran into difficulty in the Channel near Somerset and went under.

In December, five migrants died and dozens of others were taken to hospitals after capsizing their rubber dinghy, also en route to England.

France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, has previously said the government is conducting a “180-degree” change of policy towards migrants.

In 2015, France was criticised for the “catastrophic” way it handled a migrant crisis that prompted a massive influx of people.

Meanwhile in May 2018, hundreds of migrants were rescued from different vessels in the Mediterranean after a new Red Cross aid ship was launched in Rome.

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