A Sudanese man died trying to cross the English Channel – French authorities

A Sudanese man in his twenties died trying to cross the English Channel in negative conditions, French authorities have announced.

He was found unconscious and pulled out of the water after falling overboard as he and others attempted to reach the UK.

French rescue teams swung into action in the early hours of Friday and the man was brought ashore but pronounced dead.

A man carries a baby as a group of people believed to be migrants are brought to Dover, Kent, after being rescued by the RNLI following an incident on a small boat in the English Channel (Gareth Fuller/ PA)

An investigation for manslaughter has been opened, said the Boulogne-sur-Mer prosecutor’s office.

A total of 32 people were rescued off Berck, near Calais, in a state of hypothermia, authorities said.

In UK waters, several Border Force vessels were active off the Kent coast for much of the day.

Around 35 people were seen being escorted ashore in Dover by immigration staff on Friday, including a frail man supported by two officers.

The death comes less than two months after at least 27 people died when their boat sank off the coast of France in November.

Despite the dangers, more than 450 people made the deadly journey across the English Channel in small boats in 2022, following a record year in 2021.

At least 271 people aboard 10 small boats reached the UK on Thursday, including a young child wrapped in an orange life jacket and wearing a beanie.

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: “It is devastating to hear that another person has lost their life trying to cross the English Channel. Our hearts go out to them and their loved ones – who do not may not even know what happened yet.

“There are no simple answers, but we urge the government to rethink its plans to make the UK asylum system harder to access. This should start with ambitious plans for safe new routes and a commitment to resettle 10,000 people a year.

Steve Valdez-Symonds, Director of Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International UK, said: “Once again someone has lost their life in tragic and avoidable circumstances, and our hearts go out to family and friends who are experiencing this devastating loss.

“This tragedy is made all the more unbearable by the refusal of governments on both sides of the Channel to address the needs and rights of those forced to attempt these dangerous journeys.

“Unless drastically amended, the draconian Nationality and Borders Bill currently before Parliament is expected to make life even harder for asylum seekers while allowing smugglers and other abusers to continue to take advantage of this completely unacceptable situation.

A Home Office spokesperson said: ‘This tragic loss of life in France today is devastating and our hearts go out to the family and loved ones of the victim.

“This is unfortunately another reminder of the extreme dangers of crossing the English Channel in small boats and the need to work closely with France to prevent people from making these dangerous crossings.

“The government’s new plan for immigration will fix the broken system of welcoming people through safe and legal channels while preventing the crime associated with it.”

British authorities rescued or intercepted 118 people at four events on Friday, figures show.