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Group of people thought to be migrants brought to Dover today by the Border Force following the deaths of five people in a crossing Alamy Stock Photo
Migrant crossing

Five people, including a child, have drowned while trying to cross the English Channel to the UK

The five people are reported to have died in a crush on the overcrowded boat.

FIVE PEOPLE, INCLUDING a child, have died while attempting to cross the English Channel to the UK from France.

Three men, a woman and a child were killed, according to a French coastguard statement reported by the BBC.

In the early hours of this morning, the small boat carrying around 110 migrants set sail from Wimereux in northern France and got into difficulties.

The coast guard said the victims were trying to get to the UK on an overloaded boat and that several search and rescue operations are underway.

According to the BBC, the five people died in a crush on the overcrowded boat.

The incident at Wimereux occurred around four hours after the Safety of Rwanda (Asylum and Immigration Bill) aimed at deterring migrant crossings cleared UK Parliament.

However, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the “tragic” incident “underscores” the need for the deterrent effect of the Rwanda plan.

According to the Sunak, the Rwanda scheme will “deter vulnerable migrants from making perilous crossings” and break the business model of the criminal gangs organising the boats.

Sunak said criminal gangs are “exploiting vulnerable people” and “packing more and more people into these unseaworthy dinghies” to make the “dangerous crossings”.

During a flight to Poland, he told reporters: “There are reports of sadly yet more tragic deaths in the Channel this morning. I think that is just a reminder of why our plan is so important … it underscores why you need a deterrent very simply.”

Meanwhile, more migrants made the journey to the UK after an eight-day break in any crossings being recorded.

Young children and babies were among those seen arriving in Dover on today.

Preparations for the first flights to Rwanda will begin within days, with asylum seekers who could be relocated being identified and potentially detained.

Charter planes are expected to leave for Rwanda in 10-12 weeks, with Sunak promising “multiple flights a month”, although minsters conceded numbers being sent to Kigali will be small at first.

Some £290 million (€337m) has already been committed to the Rwanda scheme, with a further £100 million (€116m) earmarked over the next two years.

The cost of putting each migrant on a plane is expected to reach £11,000 (€12,770), while Rwanda will get £20,000 (€23,220) for each asylum seeker relocated there and a £120 million top-up (€139m) once 300 have arrived.

Sunak has also insisted he will not let the European Court of Human Rights block flights to Rwanda.

The court is an institution of the Council of Europe, of which the UK is a part and which has urged Sunak to abandon the Rwanda plan.

The council’s human rights commissioner, Irish lawyer Michael O’Flaherty, said: “The United Kingdom Government should refrain from removing people under the Rwanda policy and reverse the Bill’s effective infringement of judicial independence.”

The United Nations has also called for Sunak to rethink the Rwanda plan.

Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said: “The new legislation marks a further step away from the UK’s long tradition of providing refuge to those in need, in breach of the Refugee Convention.”

-With additional reporting from Diarmuid Pepper

Press Association