A young Sudanese migrant drowned on Wednesday trying to reach Britain in a 3ft dinghy.
The victim, who could not swim, had set off from Calais in the middle of the night with a friend. The pair are thought to have accidentally punctured their inflatable craft with the shovels they were using as oars.
The dinghy started to sink and – although his friend somehow survived; the Sudanese migrant was unable to make it safely ashore. His body was found on a beach at Sangatte seven hours later. The Sudanese migrant was only 16, according to France’s citizenship minister.
The tragedy sparked a major row over the Government’s handling of the crisis; which has seen record numbers cross the Channel in small boats this year.
The Bishop of Dover called for ‘definitive action’ to protect those ‘desperate enough to risk their lives’ in small boats.
‘How much worse does this have to get,’ said the Rt Rev Rose Hudson-Wilkin. ‘We cannot let his death pass by unremarked,’ he said of the Sudanese migrant.
”This appalling tragedy should be a wake-up call to all of us. We cannot stand by any longer while bodies wash up on the shores.”
Pierre-Henri Dumont, the MP for Calais, stoked up cross-Channel tensions by claiming Britain’s asylum policy was responsible.
Specifically, he said: ‘What we all feared happened that night. How many more dramas will it take for the British to regain an ounce of humanity? The inability to apply for asylum in Great Britain without being physically present is causing these tragedies.’
However, the Tory MP Tim Loughton, a former children’s minister; claimed the ‘lack of humanity’ lay with the French for letting migrants attempt to cross the Channel.
‘It is appalling that the French are allowing people to endanger their lives,’ he told Channel 4 News. ‘That is where the lack of humanity is I’m afraid.’
Also, Home Secretary Priti Patel described the death as ‘upsetting and tragic’. Further, he blasted the criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit those trying to reach the UK.
Meanwhile, another 135 migrants reached Britain on Wednesday. A further 41 were rescued from sinking boats in French waters and taken to French ports.
Source: Daily Mail, UK