This Wednesday afternoon, a new rescue operation was ordered by the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea (PREMAR). According to the police and the Ministry of the Interior, quoted by AFP, at least 27 migrants died in the sinking of their boat in the Strait of Pas-de-Calais, off Calais.
“Around 2 pm, a fisherman reported the discovery of about fifteen bodies floating off the coast of Calais. A building of the National Navy recovered several bodies, including five dead people and five unconscious, according to a provisional report ”, assured the Ministry of the Interior to AFP.
The Minister of the Interior visits the site
In a press release, PREMAR confirms that significant air and sea assets are deployed as part of this rescue operation. “The vital prognosis of some castaways seems unfortunately engaged”, it is added without further details.
Gérald Darmanin, Minister of the Interior, is expected at Calais hospital, around 7 p.m., where he will visit the survivors. “Strong emotion in front of the tragedy of the many deaths due to the capsizing of a migrant boat in the English Channel. We can never say enough about the criminal nature of the smugglers who organize these crossings, ”he said on Twitter.
On Twitter too, the Prime Minister, Jean Castex, deplores a “tragedy”: “The shipwreck in the Channel is a tragedy. My thoughts are with the many missing and wounded, victims of criminal smugglers who exploit their distress and misery ”.
“The drama was about to happen”
It is “the day too much” denounced the mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, at the microphone of BFM: “I have been warning for weeks, months”, she insists. “We could see that there was an abnormal pressure that was mounting and that the tragedy was going to happen”.
Since the start of the year, seven migrants have died or gone missing at sea as crossings attempts multiply. In 2021, the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea counted more than 30,000 attempted crossings and nearly 8,000 rescues at sea.