At least six people dead and dozens rescued after migrant boat crossing Channel capsizes

At least one person has died and dozens of others have been rescued after a migrant boat crossing the English Channel capsized.

Five other people were recovered in “serious condition” and taken to a hospital in Calais by helicopter and 50 people have been rescued, French authorities said.

A search and rescue operation involving five French ships, two British ships and a helicopter is under way following the incident off Cap Gris Nez in northern France.

Local mayor Franck Dhersin said a vast rescue operation was launched at around 4am UK time, as dozens of boats tried to make the crossing at the same time.

He said: “Near Sangatte they unfortunately found dead people”.

France’s Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea said “at this stage about fifty people have been rescued, some of them by British means.

“Unfortunately, six people were recovered in serious condition and one of them, evacuated by helicopter to Calais hospital was declared dead.”

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HM Coastguard said it is assisting French authorities in response to the incident involving a “small boat”, adding that a Dover RNLI lifeboat has been sent as part of that assistance with Folkestone and Langdon Bay coastguard rescue teams.

The UK coastguard is also working with the South East Coast Ambulance Service.

The number of people who have crossed the English Channel in small boats in the past five years has passed 100,000. The Channel is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and currents are strong.

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