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A small boat carrying smugglers overturned in the English Channel, killing at least 27 people, including five women and one girl. French officials said that after the incident, four smuggling snakeheads had been arrested in connection with the incident.
These smugglers were riding in an inflatable dinghy, crossing the English Channel that separates the UK and the European continent, trying to smuggle to the UK, but the dinghy was frustrated on the way and they fell into the water.
After the incident, Britain and France jointly launched air and sea rescue operations. French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said that the boat was carrying 34 people, two of whom were rescued, and one person was missing.
Damanen described the inflatable boats these stowaways were very fragile, describing it as “like an inflatable swimming pool used in the back garden.”
French police stated that the refugees had set off from Dunkirk. The local fishermen said that the weather was very cold that day, but the waves on the sea were calmer, so more stowaways tried to cross the English Channel than usual.
It was reported that 25 similar boats attempted to cross the English Channel.
The International Organization for Migration (International Organization for Migration) stated that the accident was the one that caused the most deaths since it began collecting relevant information in 2014.
British Prime Minister Johnson convened a cabinet meeting in response to the incident, expressing his shock and sadness at the incident, and declared that he would “do everything possible” to stop the smuggling syndicate. French President Macron also said that he would not allow smuggling groups to turn the English Channel into a cemetery, and that he would find out who is responsible.
The two talked on the phone again on Wednesday (November 24). The British Prime Minister’s Office stated that they agreed during the call that they also need to cooperate with Belgium, the Netherlands, and other European countries to start operations before these smugglers prepare to cross the English Channel.
But Franck Dhersin, an official with the local Ministry of Transportation, said that law enforcement agencies simply cannot stop all small boats trying to cross the border, describing them as fighting a battle that is bound to fail.
In an interview with the BBC, he said that the coastline to be patrolled is 100 kilometers long, and the police and the national gendarmerie simply cannot patrol this area completely. “Even if they succeed in stopping them, they will try again at another time or another day, and they will not be able to stop everyone at all.”
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