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Yui Mok/PA
calais

Irish truck drivers face threats from migrants with 'iron bars, broken bottles and machetes'

A man died yesterday after thousands of migrants stormed the Eurotunnel.

AS THE MIGRANT crisis in France escalates, Irish truck drivers are facing continuing threats on their lives by men and women who are desperate to get to the UK.

A Sudanese man in his late 20s died yesterday after thousands of migrants stormed the Eurotunnel in Calais. Attempts to penetrate the sprawling site have spiked in recent days, with migrants trying several times a night to outfox hopelessly outnumbered security officials and police.

Speaking to RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Tony Henderson, a truck driver with an Antrim-based company said his work has been severely disrupted in recent weeks.

The man has experience with migrants attempting to stow away on his vehicle, as he explained he found three people in his trailer just over a week ago – despite the fact that he was parked in an area he was assured would be monitored by security all night.

There’s confrontation all the time, they come at you with iron bars, broken bottles, some with machetes they all have a stanley knife to enter the vehicles minimum. Yes we’ve all been threatened.

Yui Mok / PA Yui Mok / PA / PA

He said these situations are usually easy enough to resolve when dealing with just one or two people but when faced with large groups with weapons, drivers and even police are often forced to retreat.

I know it seems heartless but when somebody is waving an iron bar the heartlessness goes out of you.

French authorities said there had been around 2,300 attempts to sneak into the Eurotunnel premises overnight Tuesday to yesterday, revising up a previous figure of 1,500. That came after some 2,000 bids to enter the site were recorded the night before.

France’s interior ministry said there have been “between 1,500 and 2,000 attempts per night” in the past two months.

Yui Mok / PA Yui Mok / PA / PA

“The migrants’ strategy is simple,” said Bruno Noel from police union Alliance.

“They arrive as soon as night falls. They lie in wait then sneak onto the premises and hide. As soon as a shuttle train takes off, they try and clamber onto it,” said Noel.

“But when it speeds up, you have accidents like you had last night,” he added.

The migrant killed in Calais Wednesday was the ninth such death since June and the rising toll is creating tensions between French authorities and Eurotunnel, the firm that runs the passenger and freight service under the Channel.

- With reporting from AFP.

Read: One dead as 1,500 migrants try to storm Eurotunnel>

Read: LÉ Niamh disembarks 14 bodies found on overcrowded barge>

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