Dozens of migrants came ashore at Dungeness on the Kent coast of the UK on Wednesday (November 24) after crossing from France by boat.
Migrants, including young children, were brought ashore by a rescue vessel after crossing the channel between France and Britain aboard an inflatable dinghy. Others were intercepted by Border Force officials.
At least 27 people were reported to have died on Wednesday after their dinghy capsized while attempting the crossing, in what officials called the worst disaster involving migrants in the waterway separating the countries.
According to fishermen, more migrants left France’s northern shores than usual to take advantage of calm sea conditions, although the water was bitterly cold.
One fisherman called the rescue services after seeing an empty dinghy and people floating motionless nearby.
Franck Dhersin, deputy head of regional transport and mayor of Teteghem on the northern French coast, told Reuters the death toll had reached 27 and that he expected it to rise further.
The Channel is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes and currents are strong. Overloaded dinghies often barely stay afloat and are at the mercy of waves.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an emergency meeting on Wednesday, his spokesperson said.