At Least 5 Die Trying to Cross English Channel, Including a Young Girl

At least five people, including a young girl, died at sea off the coast of northern France on Tuesday during an attempt to cross the English Channel, the French authorities said, as governments on both sides of the waterway struggle to deter migrants from making the dangerous voyage to Britain.

The people who died were on an inflatable boat that was heavily overloaded with over 100 people, according to the French authorities. The boat was one of several vessels that were spotted on Tuesday morning by the French Coast Guard near the town of Wimereux.

The deaths came just hours after the British Parliament passed highly contentious legislation to allow the deportation of asylum seekers to Rwanda, a measure that the British authorities have presented as a way of deterring people from attempting the hazardous English Channel crossings.

Jacques Billant, the prefect for the Pas-de-Calais area, told reporters in Wimereux that several people had fallen out of the boat. The coast guard dispatched several vessels to assist, including semirigid inflatable boats and a tugboat, and found several people who were unconscious and in critical condition aboard.

Six people were brought ashore, but emergency workers were unable to resuscitate five of them, Mr. Billant said. The exact circumstances of the deaths and the identities of those involved were not immediately clear.

Jean-Luc Dubaele, the mayor of Wimereux, said that one of the victims was a young girl aged less than 10. Five people died in January near the same beach as they were attempting to traverse the English Channel’s frigid waters.

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