The British government has confirmed that at least four people have died following the sinking of a “small boat” carrying migrants in the English Channel between France and the UK on Wednesday.
In a statement in parliament, Home Secretary Suella Braverman refused to give further details, saying only that “so far, tragically, there have been four deaths.
“A full statement will be made in due course once the facts have been fully established, and the necessary investigative work has been completed,” she said.
Earlier British media reports had put the death toll at three and the rescue of 43 people.
The British Coastguard had indicated this morning that it was coordinating a rescue operation in conjunction with the Navy, the Border Guard and Kent Police.
In addition to several lifeboats, the operation involved helicopters from the Coast Guard and one from the French Navy, as well as help from fishing boats that were in the area.
Kent Police indicated that the alert of the incident was received at 03:39 hours.
Also in parliament today, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak expressed “regret” over what had happened and “the tragic loss of life.”
The leader of the Labour Party (the main opposition political force), Keir Starmer, also expressed his solidarity with the victims and said that this new shipwreck in the English Channel is the result of “criminal gangs” operating on this migratory route and that “they endanger the lives of desperate people and profit from (their) misery.
In the same speech, Keir Starmer called for these organized groups that profit from human trafficking to be “dismantled or brought to justice.”
Since the beginning of the year, almost 45,000 people have made this dangerous crossing, compared to almost 30,000 the previous year.
Last November, a rubber boat with 34 migrants on board sank in the English Channel, causing 31 deaths, including a pregnant woman.
On Tuesday, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced a plan to address the illegal migrant crisis in the UK, with the strengthening of means and the facilitation of deportation of Albanian nationals, who account for a third of the total.