Three men arrested after deaths of five people, including a child, who attempted to cross Channel

By John Mercury April 24, 2024

Three men have been arrested after the deaths of five people – including a seven-year-old girl – who were attempting to cross the English Channel.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has said it is supporting the French investigation into the deaths.

The men arrested were two Sudanese nationals aged 19 and 22 and one South Sudanese national aged 19, Craig Turner, the deputy director of the NCA, said.

The suspects have been accused of facilitating illegal immigration and entering the UK illegally.

It comes as a seven-year-old girl, a woman and three men died during the attempt to cross the English Channel on Tuesday.

Migrants arrive in Dover
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Migrants arrive in Dover after being rescued

A further 55 people believed to have been on board the boat have also been identified and will continue to be questioned by police in the next few days.

“This tragic incident demonstrates the threat to life posed by these crossings and brings into focus why it is so important to target these criminal gangs involved in organising them,” Mr Turner said on Wednesday.

wimereux map
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The incident on 23 April occurred in Wimereux, northern France

Sky News was told on Tuesday that about 50 people who had paid for a place on board the boat helped carry it down the beach in Wimereux, northern France, before getting to the waterfront.

It was at this point that another group of people emerged and pushed their way on to the boat, threatening those on board.

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It meant that a total of 112 people were on the boat that was only meant to safely accommodate 20 people.

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According to the latest data from the UK government, a total of 402 migrants were detected crossing the Channel in seven small boats on Tuesday alone – an average of 57 people per boat.

From 17-22 April there were no detected crossings.

The NCA announcement comes on the same day as the bodies of 19 people were recovered off the coast of Tunisia, near one of the primary points of departure for those seeking to traverse the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

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In an attempt to deter migrants from crossing the Channel in small boats, the UK government passed the controversial Rwanda bill on Monday – which seeks to deport asylum seekers arriving in the UK via small boats to the African nation.

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