A migrant boat capsized in the English Channel on Wednesday, killing at least 31 passengers going to Britain.
The sea mishap was defined by France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin as the largest migration accident on the crossing at present, ABC News reported.
Darmanin said the boat is believed to ferry 34 individuals, but only 31 of the bodies were retrieved. Of the recovered passengers, five are women, one was a little girl, while two others have survived. Still reported missing is one of the passengers while their nationalities were not yet confirmed.
The rescue operations are being supervised by the regional maritime authority which later announced that 27 bodies were retrieved. Two of the passengers have survived while four were believed to have drowned as they are still out of sight, the authority said. There is no immediate explanation, however, on the inconsistency of the figures.
People escaping chaos and poverty in some places like Sudan, Afghanistan, Eritrea, and Iraq are risking their lives to cross the seas through a tiny sea craft from France that is not even seaworthy. The growing number of migrants are taking on a dangerous journey with the hope to start a better life in Britain.
The crossings have increased by three folds this year compared to last year. On Wednesday, an addition of 106 migrants was rescued in the French waters.
The search operations for the sunken boat led by the combined force from France and Britain was canceled on late Wednesday. The two nations work with each other to stop migration across the Channel. They, however, blame each other for insufficient effort. Politicians from both countries often ride on the issue to forward anti-migration subjects.
According to Darmanin, who talked to reporters in Calais, arrests were made against four people on Wednesday who were suspected to be involved in the sea accident. Two of them have made court appearance, he said.
In a talk with The Associated Press, Lille Prosecutor Carole Etienne said that the identification process for the victims is ongoing.
“It’s a day of great mourning for France, for Europe, for humanity to see these people die at sea,” said Darmain, as he slammed “criminal traffickers” that force many to cross amid the peril.