English Channel: 400 More Illegal Boat Migrants Land as People Smuggling Trade Claims First Death of Year

GRAVELINES, FRANCE - JANUARY 13: A burst inflatable boat on the sand in the early morning, remains of an aborted attempt to cross the English Channel by migrants after their arrest by the police on January 13, 2022 in Gravelines, near Dunkirk, France. Humanitarian association has filed manslaughter charges against …
Sylvain Lefevre/Getty Images

The vicious people-smuggling trade operating on both sides of the English Channel has claimed its first life of the year, as another 400 illegal migrants have landed on British soil in the past two days.

French authorities have confirmed that a migrant in his twenties drowned on Friday morning after falling off a migrant trafficking boat off the coast of Berck-sur-Mer in the department of Calais.

According to a report from the local newspaper La Voix Du Nord, the migrant is believed to be a Sudanese national. Another thirty young male migrants were rescued by French authorities during an operation involving search helicopters.

Responding to the drowning, the Home Office said: “This tragic loss of life in France today is devastating and our thoughts are with the victim’s family and loved ones. It is sadly another reminder of the extreme dangers of crossing the Channel in small boats.”

The British Red Cross said: “It is devastating to hear that another person has lost their life attempting to cross the Channel. Our thoughts are with them and their loved ones – who may not even know yet what has happened.”

The drowning, which is thought to be the first of the year, came amid a flurry of migrant boats setting off from French beaches. On Thursday, 271 illegal aliens were brought ashore in Dover by UK Border Force officials, the BBC reports.

The flow of migrants continued on Friday, with an additional 118 illegals on four separate boats landing, according to BBC reporter Simon Jones. French authorities claimed to have prevented another 97 migrants from making the treacherous journey.

The latest crossings take the total so far for January to at least 551, more than double the number seen during the entire first month of last year when 223 migrants crossed.

Sharing footage of illegals landing on Friday, Brexit leader Nigel Farage said: “Another sad death in the Channel this morning. All the while we allow boats to come, the worse it will get.”

“The surge of young men arriving through Dover is going to be enormous this year unless Johnson acts, which is very unlikely,” he added.

Last year saw a record 28,000 illegal migrants cross the English Channel, more than triple the previous high in 2020 when over 8,400 were seen landing.

2021 also saw one of the deadliest incidents in the history of illegal boat migration, with 27 migrants drowning off the coast of France in November.

Nigel Farage — who almost exactly predicted the number of landings last year — has said that the UK could see “at least 60,000” migrants cross the English Channel this year, but warned that as many as 80,000 could make the trip if Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government continues to fail to act.

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here @KurtZindulka

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