A Sudanese man in his 20s has been found dead after being pulled from the water in the English Channel, French authorities have announced.
He was found overboard and unconscious in the early hours of Friday after a boat believed to be heading for the UK ran into difficulty off the coast of France.
Twenty-five people were found still on board and were picked up by Les Sauveteurs en Mer rescue teams, while five others were found on a sandbank.
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The unconscious man was brought ashore but pronounced dead.
An investigation for manslaughter has been opened by the Boulogne-sur-Mer prosecutor’s office.
The latest attempts at dangerous travel come despite sub-zero temperatures on the French coast.
A total of 32 people were rescued off Berck, near Calais, in a state of hypothermia, authorities said.
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In UK waters, several Border Force vessels were active off the Kent coast for much of the day.
It comes after at least 271 people aboard 10 small boats reached the UK on Thursday, including a young child.
So far this year, more than 450 people have made the deadly journey across the English Channel in small boats after a record year in 2021.
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.
“This loss comes far too soon after 27 people died late last year.
KentLive uses the term people to refer to those who cross the English Channel and arrive on our shores.
Indeed, whatever their status at the point of entry, those who move from one country to another are human beings.
You will have seen them commonly called migrants. It’s not false.
The United Nations Migration Agency defines a migrant as – anyone who is moving or has crossed an international border or within a State away from their usual place of residence, regardless of their legal status, whether the movement is voluntary or involuntary, what are the causes of the displacement or what is the duration of the stay.
KentLive also refers to people in these circumstances as refugees.
The UN definition of refugees is – people who find themselves outside their country of origin for reasons of fear of persecution, conflict, generalized violence or other circumstances which have seriously disturbed public order and , therefore, require international protection.
“Every death in the English Channel is a tragedy. It should be unacceptable to us that people are forced to make dangerous crossings in freezing conditions in search of safety. No one is putting their life in danger in this way unless they feels he has no other choice and is totally hopeless.
“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 radically 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.
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