4 suspected traffickers arrested for the sinking of a migrant boat – WISH-TV | Indianapolis News | Indiana weather


PARIS (AP) – France’s interior minister said four suspected traffickers were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of being linked to a deadly migrant boat that sank in the English Channel and left at least 31 dead.

Two of the suspects appeared in court on Wednesday and all four are suspected of having a connection to the sunk boat, Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin told reporters in the French port city of Calais.

The regional prosecutor has opened an investigation for aggravated manslaughter after the sinking, the deadliest to date in the English Channel.

THIS IS A CURRENT UPDATE. AP’s previous story follows below.


At least 31 migrants bound for Britain died on Wednesday when their boat sank in the English Channel in the “biggest tragedy” involving migration to have taken place on the dangerous crossing to date, according to the French Minister for the Interior.

Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin said 34 people were believed to have been on the boat. Authorities found 31 bodies and two survivors. One person still appeared to be missing.

A joint Franco-British operation to search for survivors was still underway on Wednesday evening.

While the incident was the deadliest day in the canal to date, Darmanin noted other fatal incidents in the past and lashed out at “criminal traffickers” leading thousands to risk the crossing.

The nationality of the travelers was not disclosed.

The British Prime Minister called a meeting of the government crisis committee and the French Home Secretary rushed to see the survivors at a hospital in Calais. The two governments have long disagreed on how to prevent increasingly dangerous migrant crossings, with both sides blaming each other for not doing enough.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “shocked, dismayed and deeply saddened”.

A French navy boat spotted several bodies in the water around 2 p.m. and recovered an unknown number of dead and wounded, some of whom were unconscious, a spokesperson for the maritime authority said.

Three French patrol boats were joined by a French helicopter and a British helicopter to search the area, according to the French maritime agency for the region.

Jean-Marc Puissesseau, head of the ports of Calais and Boulogne, told The Associated Press he spoke to one of the rescuers who brought some of the bodies back to the port of Calais.

“The traffickers are murderers,” he said. “We were waiting for something like this to happen.”

While fatalities are sometimes reported during the crossing, such a large number of people losing their lives in one boat is rare.

The nationalities of the victims were not immediately released. People fleeing conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Eritrea and Sudan are among those gathered along towns in northern France seeking to travel to Britain.

“Strong emotion after the tragedy of numerous deaths in the sinking of a migrant boat in the English Channel,” Darmanin tweeted. He lambasted the migrant smuggling networks that organize such trips.

The Dunkirk prosecutor’s office said it had opened an investigation for aggravated manslaughter following the tragedy.

The number of migrants using small boats to cross the Channel has risen sharply this year, despite the high risks which worsen with the autumn weather. A number of people are also believed to have reached Britain in small boats on Wednesday.

More than 25,700 people have made the dangerous trip in small craft this year, three times the total for all of 2020.

With changing weather conditions, cold seas and heavy shipping traffic, the crossing is dangerous for inflatables and other small boats that men, women and children crowd into.

French and British authorities have recovered thousands of migrants off the French and British coasts in recent weeks in dozens of rescue operations.

“How many times do we still see people lose their lives trying to get to safety in the UK due to the appalling lack of safe means to do so?” said Tom Davies, Campaigner for Refugee and Migrant Rights Campaign for Amnesty International UK.

“We desperately need a new approach to asylum, including genuine Anglo-French efforts to design safe asylum routes to prevent such tragedies from happening again,” he added. .

Johnson said more needs to be done to “break the business model of the gangsters who send people to sea in this way.”

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