Migrant dies as 400 rescued trying to cross English Channel from France

More than 20,000 migrants have made the crossing to Britain in small boats in 2021

One migrant has died and more than 400 were rescued as they tried to cross the English Channel from France on Wednesday.

French authorities said attempted crossings had risen this week, which is likely to be because of favourable weather.

“More than 400 people were saved. Unfortunately, despite efforts, one is missing and another one was declared dead,” France’s maritime authorities said.

The victim, believed to be an adult male, was unconscious when pulled from the water and later pronounced dead.

More than 20,000 migrants have made the crossing to Britain in small boats in 2021, compared to 9,500 last year.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel has been criticised for the rise in numbers, despite vowing to clamp down on illegal migration.

“The Home Secretary has been in post for over two years and has — repeatedly — committed to stopping Channel crossings in small boats by making the route ‘unviable,’” said Nick Thomas-Symonds, the opposition Labour Party’s home affairs spokesman.

“Yet we have seen unprecedented numbers making the journey, with a staggering 20,000 for this year alone. The Home Secretary’s approach has, once again, failed to deliver.”

He said a deal needed to be agreed with the French authorities to establish safe and legal routes.

“Instead we see the tragic results of government incompetence,” said Mr Thomas-Symonds.

Amnesty International UK’s chief executive, Sacha Deshmukh, also criticised the government’s actions, saying: “We need to remember that these dangerous crossings are taking place because the government has provided no safe alternative for people to exercise their right to seek asylum here.”

A French priest and two activists have gone on a hunger strike over the treatment of migrants in Calais, France.

Updated: November 4th 2021, 11:53 AM