Four migrants died overnight and a fifth was found dead on Sunday after trying to reach Britain from northern France despite freezing temperatures, the French maritime authority said.
The group was attempting to reach a vessel off Wimereux when their small boat got into difficulty around 2am (01:00 GMT), the maritime prefecture told AFP.
“We have four dead migrants and one migrant in a critical condition at the hospital in Boulogne-sur-mer,” said one official.
A fifth migrant was found dead late Sunday morning, the maritime prefecture said.
A tugboat patrolling the coast went to the rescue and found the bodies, the first reported migrant deaths on the Channel in 2024.
More than two decades after the closure of a Red Cross centre in Sangatte, hundreds of people still live in tents and makeshift shelters near Calais and Dunkirk, hoping for a chance to make the crossing hidden in a truck or aboard a small boat.
According to the British government nearly 30,000 migrants crossed the Channel from mainland Europe to Britain in small boats in 2023, an annual drop of more than a third.
In November 2021, at least 27 people drowned when their dinghy capsized.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)
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