Channel crossings: 402 migrants arrive in UK as five die attempting journey

More than 400 migrants arrived in the UK on the day five people, including a child, died while trying to cross the Channel.

The crossings took place as the tragedy off the coast of northern France unfolded, just hours after Parliament passed legislation aimed at getting the Government’s plan to give asylum seekers a one-way ticket to Rwanda off the ground.

A dinghy carrying more than 100 people set off from Wimereux at around 6am on Tuesday but got into difficulty.

Migrant Channel crossing incidents
Crews carried someone ashore on a stretcher as migrants arrived in Dover on Tuesday (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Some 49 people were rescued but 58 others refused to leave the boat and continued their journey towards the UK, the coastguard said in a statement, with several other boats later embarking on the crossing.

Home Office figures show 402 people made the journey in seven boats that same day after an eight-day break in activity in the Channel, which suggests there was an average of around 57 people per boat.

Young children and babies were among those seen being brought ashore in Dover, Kent, while witnesses described how crews carried someone on a stretcher from a lifeboat to an ambulance.

(PA Graphics)

Campaigners said the Rwanda plan will not save lives as they lamented the news of more deaths as a result of the treacherous journey and called for the Channel not to become a graveyard for children.

But Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the incident underscores the need for the deterrent the Government hopes sending migrants to the east African nation if they arrive illegally in the UK will bring.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said it would be supporting the French investigation into the deaths with UK police and Border Force.

Some 29,437 made the journey in 2023, down 36% on a record 45,774 arrivals in 2022.

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