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World: Migrant boat capsizes in English Channel; at least 31 dead

Volunteer migrant rescuers on trial in Greece

  Volunteer migrant rescuers on trial in Greece LESBOS, Greece (AP) — A group of 24 volunteers who took part in migrant rescue operations went on trial Thursday on the Greek island of Lesbos on smuggling-related charges in a case that has been strongly criticized by international human rights groups. The Greek and international volunteers include the Syrian-born competitive swimmer Sara Mardini, whose sister Ysra Mardini, was part of the refugee swimming team at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and Tokyo earlier this year.

PARIS — At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel in the “biggest tragedy” involving migration to have taken place on the dangerous crossing to date, according to France’s interior minister. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 34 people were believed to have been on the boat . Authorities found 31 bodies and two survivors. One person appeared to still be missing. A joint French-British operation to search for survivors was still under way Wednesday evening. While the incident was the deadliest day in the channel to date

At least 30 migrants headed for the UK have drowned in the Channel near Calais after their boat sank, French authorities say. French and British authorities are conducting a rescue operation in the Channel by air and sea. France's interior minister, speaking in Calais, has confirmed that 31 people have died after their boat capsized . Gérald Darmanin said five women and one little girl were among the dead , according to Reuters. Two people were rescued from the capsized boat , the politician said.

CALAIS, France (AP) — At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France’s interior minister called the biggest migration tragedy on the dangerous crossing to date.

French police officers patrol on the beach in the searcher migrants in Wimereux, northern France, Wednesday, Nov.17, 2021. Several migrants died and others were injured Wednesday Nov.24, 2021 when their boat capsized off Calais in the English Channel as they tried to cross from France to Britain, authorities said. British and French authorities were searching the area using helicopters and coast guard vessels, according to the French maritime agency for the region. (AP Photo/Louis Witter, File) © Provided by Associated Press French police officers patrol on the beach in the searcher migrants in Wimereux, northern France, Wednesday, Nov.17, 2021. Several migrants died and others were injured Wednesday Nov.24, 2021 when their boat capsized off Calais in the English Channel as they tried to cross from France to Britain, authorities said. British and French authorities were searching the area using helicopters and coast guard vessels, according to the French maritime agency for the region. (AP Photo/Louis Witter, File)

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 34 people were believed to have been on the boat. Authorities found 31 bodies — including those of five women and a young girl — and two survivors, he said. One person appeared to still be missing. The nationalities of the travelers was not immediately known.

In the cold sea, migrants cast off for England from a French beach

  In the cold sea, migrants cast off for England from a French beach In the cold sea, migrants cast off for England from a French beachWIMEREUX, France (Reuters) - Bundled from the cold in black woolly hats and puffy coats, some in red life jackets, they hauled the rubber dinghy on their shoulders and heads under a steely November sky, over the dunes towards the beach.

At least 27 migrants have died after a boat capsized in the English Channel , off the coast of Calais, northern France on Wednesday, police sources told CNN affiliate BFMTV.

At least 31 people including five women and a young girl have died trying to cross the Channel to the UK in an inflatable dinghy, officials say, in what is the deadliest incident since the current crisis began. Two survivors are in intensive care while police have arrested four people suspected of being linked to The UK’s home secretary Priti Patel said the deaths of a reported 31 people after a boat capsized in the Channel were the “starkest possible reminder” of the dangers of the crossing. Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said action was needed to disrupt the flow of people before they

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin answers the press in Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo) © Provided by Associated Press French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin answers the press in Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo)

The regional maritime authority, which oversees rescue operations, later said 27 bodies were found, two people survived and four others were missing and presumed drowned. The discrepancy in the numbers was not immediately explained.

A rescue workers truck leaves the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler) © Provided by Associated Press A rescue workers truck leaves the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Ever-increasing numbers of people fleeing conflict or poverty in Afghanistan, Sudan, Iraq, Eritrea or elsewhere are risking the perilous journey in small, unseaworthy craft from France, hoping to win asylum or find better opportunities in Britain. The crossings have tripled this year compared to 2020, and another 106 migrants were rescued in French waters on Wednesday alone.

At least 31 migrants died after their boat sank in the English Channel headed for the UK

  At least 31 migrants died after their boat sank in the English Channel headed for the UK Reuters reported that at least 31 migrants were dead, two are in critical condition, and one is missing.There were 34 people aboard the ship — two are "suffering from severe hypothermia" and one is missing, according to French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, Reuters reported.

" English Channel 'disaster' leaves at least 31 migrants including children dead ". Wales Online. " Thirty - one people drown after refugee boat capsizes in Channel , French minister confirms – latest". ^ "'Disaster' as at least 30 people die in English Channel after boat capsizes ".

PARIS — At least 27 people drowned in frigid waters off the coast of France on Wednesday, after a boat carrying migrants trying to reach Britain capsized in the English Channel , one of the worst death tolls in recent years for migrants attempting the dangerous crossing. Gérald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, said that the dead , including five women and a little girl, were part of a group whose “extremely fragile” inflatable boat was found completely deflated by rescuers. French officials had previously given a death toll of 31 , but later revised the figure.

A joint French-British search operation for survivors of the sinking was called off late Wednesday. Both countries cooperate to stem migration across the Channel but also accuse each other of not doing enough — and the issue is often used by politicians on both sides pushing an anti-migration agenda.

Four suspected traffickers were arrested Wednesday on suspicion of being linked to the sunken boat, Darmanin told reporters in the French port city of Calais. He said two of the suspects later appeared in court.

The regional prosecutor opened an investigation into aggravated manslaughter, organized illegal migration and other charges after the sinking. Lille Prosecutor Carole Etienne told The Associated Press that officials were still working to identify the victims and determine their ages and nationalities, and that the investigation may involve multiple countries.

Channel deaths fuel UK-France tensions over migrant boats

  Channel deaths fuel UK-France tensions over migrant boats LONDON (AP) — The deaths of at least 27 people in the English Channel is fueling tensions between the U.K. and France over how to stop migrants from crossing the world’s busiest waterway in small boats. Despite a pledge from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron that they would “do everything possible” to stop people smugglers from endangering lives, politicians on both sides of the channel are already blaming their counterparts for failing to prevent Wednesday's tragedy.

At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel in the “biggest tragedy” involving migration to have taken place on the dangerous crossing to date, according to France's interior minister. Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 34 people were believed to have been on the boat . Authorities found 31 bodies and two survivors. One person appeared to still be missing. A joint French-British operation to search for survivors was still under way Wednesday evening.

Activists and members of associations defending migrants' rights gather with posters outside the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler) © Provided by Associated Press Activists and members of associations defending migrants' rights gather with posters outside the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

“It’s a day of great mourning for France, for Europe, for humanity to see these people die at sea,” Darmanin said. He lashed out at “criminal traffickers” driving thousands to risk the crossing.

Activists demonstrated outside the port of Calais on Wednesday night, accusing governments of not doing enough to respond to migrants' needs. Hundreds of people live in precarious conditions along the French coast, despite regular police patrols and evacuation operations.

The bodies were brought to the Calais port, Jean-Marc Puissesseau, head of the ports of Calais and Boulogne, told The AP. “We were waiting for something like this to happen," he said, given the growing numbers of people risking the passage.

France lashes out at Britain's latest proposal on migrants

  France lashes out at Britain's latest proposal on migrants CALAIS, France (AP) — France reacted with fury Friday to Britain's latest proposals for dealing with the deadly flow of migrants between their shores. The French government said a British minister was no longer welcome at a European meeting to discuss the problem and portrayed the British prime minister as duplicitous. The angry response, delivered by government spokesman Gabriel Attal, came after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson asked that France take back all migrants who cross illegally from its shores to Britain. Johnson proposed the deal in a letter to French President Emmanuel Macron.

French police officers patrol on the beach in the searcher migrants in Wimereux, northern France, Wednesday, Nov.17, 2021. Several migrants died and others were injured Wednesday Nov.24, 2021 when their boat capsized off Calais in the English Channel as they tried to cross from France to Britain, authorities said. British and French authorities were searching the area using helicopters and coast guard vessels, according to the French maritime agency for the region. (AP Photo/Louis Witter, File) © Provided by Associated Press French police officers patrol on the beach in the searcher migrants in Wimereux, northern France, Wednesday, Nov.17, 2021. Several migrants died and others were injured Wednesday Nov.24, 2021 when their boat capsized off Calais in the English Channel as they tried to cross from France to Britain, authorities said. British and French authorities were searching the area using helicopters and coast guard vessels, according to the French maritime agency for the region. (AP Photo/Louis Witter, File)

Aid groups blamed European governments for increasingly hard-line migration policies. “The U.K. is not a choice, it is an escape, an escape for people fleeing the lack of welcome in Europe,” said Nikolai Posner of French charity Utopia 56.

Darmanin called for coordination with the U.K., saying “the response must also come from Great Britain.”

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron spoke after Wednesday’s tragedy and agreed “that it is vital to keep all options on the table to stop these lethal crossings and break the business model of the criminal gangs behind them,” Johnson’s office said.

Activists and members of associations defending migrants' rights gather with posters reading © Provided by Associated Press Activists and members of associations defending migrants' rights gather with posters reading "Human rights, outraged, smashed, martyrized" outside the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Downing Street said the two leaders “underlined the importance of close working with neighbors in Belgium and the Netherlands as well as partners across the continent if we are to tackle the problem effectively before people reach the French coast.”

Border Agents Say Sector's Apprehensions Could Exceed Numbers From 2019's 'Migrant Crisis'

  Border Agents Say Sector's Apprehensions Could Exceed Numbers From 2019's 'Migrant Crisis' Most of the U.S.-bound migrants arriving in El Paso, Texas, were from Mexico, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras and Cuba."The El Paso Sector is on pace to meet or exceed the record numbers from the 'Migrant Crisis' in FY19," sector officials said in a June 24 news release.

A rescue workers truck leaves the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler) © Provided by Associated Press A rescue workers truck leaves the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Macron stressed “the shared responsibility” of France and the U.K. and told Johnson he expects full cooperation from the British and that they do not use the tragic situation “for political purposes,” the Elysee said.


Video: At least 31 dead after migrant boat capsizes (CBS News)

France’s government is holding an emergency meeting Thursday morning to discuss next steps. Macron advocated an immediate funding boost for the European Union's border agency, Frontex, and an emergency meeting of European government ministers, according to his office. “France will not allow the Channel to become a cemetery,” Macron said.

An activist leaves after lighting up a candle outside the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler) © Provided by Associated Press An activist leaves after lighting up a candle outside the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Johnson convened a meeting of the government's crisis committee, and said he was “shocked, appalled and deeply saddened."

Camped in Calais, migrants renew resolve to try for England

  Camped in Calais, migrants renew resolve to try for England CALAIS, France (AP) — At the makeshift camps in France near Calais and Dunkirk, migrants are digging in, waiting for their chance to make a dash across the English Channel despite the deaths of at least 27 people this week when their boat sank a few miles (kilometers) from the French coast. Police have stepped up patrols in recent days and the weather has worsened, making this a bad time to attempt a crossing. But most migrants say the tragedy won’t prevent them from climbing into a flimsy inflatable boat packed with up to 50 people in hopes of reaching Britain.

He urged France to step up efforts to stem the flow of migrants, and said Wednesday’s incident highlighted how efforts by French authorities to patrol their beaches “haven’t been enough.”

A rescue workers van arrives at the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler) © Provided by Associated Press A rescue workers van arrives at the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

“We’ve had difficulties persuading some of our partners, particularly the French, to do things in a way that we think the situation deserves," he told reporters.

Darmanin insisted that France has worked hard to prevent crossings, rescuing 7,800 people since January and stopping 671 who were trying to cross on Wednesday alone.

A hearse enters the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler) © Provided by Associated Press A hearse enters the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

A French naval boat spotted several bodies in the water around 2 p.m. and rescue boats retrieved several dead and injured from the surrounding waters, a maritime authority spokesperson said. French patrol boats, a French helicopter and a British helicopter searched the area.

More than 25,700 people undertook such dangerous boat journeys so far this year — three times the total for the whole of 2020. With changeable weather, cold seas and heavy maritime traffic, the crossing is dangerous for the inflatables and other small boats that men, women and children squeeze into.

A hearse leaves the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler) © Provided by Associated Press A hearse leaves the port of Calais, northern France, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel, in what France's interior minister called the biggest tragedy involving migrants on the dangerous crossing to date. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)

Migrants from around the world have long used northern France as a launching point to reach Britain by stowing away in trucks or using dinghies and other small boats organized by smugglers. Many want to reach the U.K. in search of economic opportunity or because of family and community ties, or because their efforts to win asylum in the EU failed. French authorities say another big draw is lax British rules toward migrants without residency papers.

The overall number of people applying for asylum in Britain is down slightly on last year, and Britain receives much fewer asylum seekers than comparable European countries like Germany or France.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, says an estimated 1,600 people have died or disappeared in the Mediterranean Sea this year while trying to reach Europe from North Africa or Turkey. Hundreds more have perished in the Atlantic Ocean off West Africa on a migrant route to Spain’s Canary Islands.

“How many more times must we see people lose their life trying to reach safety in the UK because of the woeful lack of safe means to do so?" said Tom Davies, Amnesty International U.K.’s refugee and migrant rights campaign manager.

“We desperately need a new approach to asylum, including genuine Anglo-French efforts to devise safe asylum routes to avoid such tragedies happening again," he added.

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Hui reported from London. Angela Charlton in Paris, Sylvie Corbet in Strasbourg, France, Jill Lawless and Pan Pylas in London contributed to this report.

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Follow AP’s global migration coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

In Iraq, family mourns victim of tragic Channel death .
IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — Snow globes, teddy bears and makeup brushes — these were the trinkets left behind in northern Iraq by Maryam Nouri who perished this week along with at least 26 others in an ill-fated voyage with dreams of reaching the United Kingdom. A wake for Nouri, called Baran by her friends and family, was held in Soran on Sunday in the Kurdish semi-autonomous northern region. Male relatives sat outside the family home, counting prayer beads in her remembrance, in line with local customs. Her body has not yet reached Iraq, pending legal issues, they said.

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