Migrant dies and another critical trying to reach UK in perilous waters

A person has died after a boat carrying migrants got into difficulty this morning in the English Channel.

Authorities in France received a message just before midnight on Thursday (December 14) that a boat with more than 60 migrants on board was in difficulty in the Channel.

A rescue operation was launched immediately with France sending a boat which reached the stricken vessel about five miles from the coast around Calais about 30 minutes later.

When the rescue boat arrived it found people were already in the water as the vessel carrying the migrants was deflating.

Four more boats were sent to the rescue operation. A total of 66 people were rescued from the sea, but two were unconscious. One of the two was airlifted to hospital by helicopter. Their condition is said to be life-threatening.

The second person could not be revived. The others who had attempted the perilous crossing were taken back to shore in Calais.

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The tragedy is another sign that people in dangerously overloaded boats are still attempting to cross one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes in difficult, wintery conditions.

In recent weeks the number of crossings has fallen due to the sea being rough, though the wind has dropped of late, meaning it could be another busy day in the English Channel.

Last month, two people died while trying to reach UK shores while another four individuals perished as they tried to cross in the summer.

News of this latest death comes after an asylum seeker died on board the Bibby Stockholm barge, which houses migrants in Portland Dorset.

The deaeth on the Bibby Stockholm came as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was preparing to face a crunch Commons vote on plans to change the law so Britain can send migrants to Rwanda.

Mr Sunak won the key vote with a 44-strong majority on his emergency draft law which aims to revive his policy to deport some asylum seekers to Kigali.

But he faces further opposition from hardliners on the Conservative right – who want the Bill strengthened – as well as more moderate wings of his party when it returns to the House next year.

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