Three children and pregnant woman among those dead in Channel crossing 2 days ago

Three children and pregnant woman among those dead in Channel crossing

Officials are continuing to identify the victims after Wednesday's tragedy

Three children and a pregnant woman are now known to have been among the 27 people who died whilst trying to cross the English Channel on Wednesday November 24.

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French officials confirmed that three children, seven women and 17 men died, with French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin saying that an expectant mother was among the dead.

He described the loss of the 27 lives as an "absolute tragedy," blaming human trafficking gangs.

Just two survivors were rescued. They are both in an "extremely serious" condition in a hospital in Calais.

The Mirror reports that the boat carrying the group was carrying mainly unidentified Iraqi Kurds and Somalis who had paid the equivalent of up to £6,000 each for a passage to England.

Lille's public prosecutor, Carole Etienne, has said that autopsies will take place in the city over the coming days. Etienne is leading the criminal enquiry into the deaths.

On Thursday morning a fifth suspect was arrested by French authorities.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has met with French President Emmanuel Macron to discuss the incident, which is the biggest loss of life in the Channel since the current migrant crisis began.

Since the start of last year, more than 30,000 people have risked their lives crossing the Channel in an attempt to reach the UK, boarding dinghies and other small boats.

Les Sauveteurs en Mer are a rescue service in Calais and their president Bernard Barron described the boat the migrants were crossing in as a "floating death trap."

He said: "Migrants are forced into the boat, and their feet are in water and fuel. These are unimaginable conditions.

"Often only women and children have life jackets, and these boats don't have navigation lights or radar receivers."

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Rescuers believe the dinghy collided with a container ship at the limit of French territorial waters.

Charles Devos, who was one of the first rescuers to reach the victims, said: "We’ve seen the boats becoming more and more overcrowded.

"The inflatables are only designed for 10 people, but more than 50 have been packed on board, turning them into floating death traps.

"We always thought that, one day or another, they were going to collide with a container ship or a ferry."

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He added that the two survivors had made a "miracle escape."

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