A migrant died, another was reported missing and more than 400 were rescued at sea Wednesday, November 3, after the sinking of several makeshift boats in the Channel, Agence France-Presse (AFP) learned from the prosecution. of Dunkirk and the maritime prefecture.
From ” many “ Rescue operations were carried out in the Strait of Pas-de-Calais, starting overnight from Tuesday to Wednesday and continuing “Until the evening” Wednesday, said in a statement the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea (Premar). “More than 400 people have been recovered. (…) Unfortunately, despite the means implemented, one person is reported missing and another has been declared dead ”, writes the Premar.
An investigation opened for “manslaughter”
“A person was announced to me who died today in connection with the sinking of a “small boat”, which would have been damaged, and which would have been wrecked, in particular because of the overload ”, had previously told AFP the prosecutor of the Republic of Dunkirk, Sébastien Piève. The dead person “Is a priori an adult, we evoke someone in his thirties”, and his boat was carrying “About forty people” according to the first elements of the investigation, “Yet to be verified”, said Mr. Piève.
The prosecution has opened an investigation for ” manslaughter “, entrusted to the border police (PAF).
The other castaways who traveled with him “Were recovered by the SNSM [Société nationale de sauvetage en mer] and brought ashore, to Loon beach ”, further clarified Mr. Piève.
According to the Premar, this castaway “Was recovered unconscious. The rescuers did the maximum possible “, but it was “Declared deceased upon returning to the quay”. During another rescue operation, “The recovered castaways told rescuers that a person had fallen into the sea off the Pas-de-Calais”, continues the maritime prefecture. But the searches undertaken did not allow to find it and were suspended at the end of the morning. “Lack of new elements”.
Multiplication of rescue operations
Rescue operations have multiplied in recent days off the North and Pas-de-Calais. They required Wednesday the intervention of several ships of the Navy, stars of the maritime gendarmerie, various units of the SNSM or two helicopters of the French and Belgian armies.
“There is a lot of activity this week”, possibly pushed by “Relatively mild weather conditions”, observed the Dunkirk prosecutor.
During the night of Monday to Tuesday, 292 migrants had been recovered at sea during seven separate operations.
According to maritime prefect Philippe Dutrieux, some 15,400 migrants attempted the crossing between the 1is January and August 31, of which 3,500 were “Recovered in difficulty” in the strait and brought back to the French coast. In 2020, crossings and attempted crossings concerned some 9,500 people, compared to 2,300 in 2019 and 600 in 2018.
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Channel crossings: one dead migrant, one missing and more than 400 rescued at sea