Four dead, including two children, after migrant boat sinks crossing Channel

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Sejal Karia

Two children aged five and eight are among four people who have died after a boat carrying migrants sank crossing the Channel, authorities have confirmed.

At least 18 people were taken to hospital after the vessel went down off near Dunkirk, France.

The people on board are thought to have been trying to cross to the UK, despite wind gusts of up to 18mph.

Searches are ongoing for any more migrants involved in the incident.

Military resources and civilian boats have been involved in the search after the vessel was seen in difficulty near Dunkirk.

The alarm was raised by a yacht which notified search and rescue.

French patrol boats and a helicopter from the Belgian air force were dispatched as well as a fishing boat.

An investigation into the causes of the sinking has been launched by the Dunkirk public prosecutor.

Home Secretary Priti Patel used her Tory conference speech to criticise ‘lefty lawyers’ Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

Two people died earlier this year making the perilous journey across the Channel, including one earlier this month.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “My thoughts are with the loved ones of those who tragically lost their lives in the Channel today. “We have offered the French authorities every support as they investigate this terrible incident and will do all we can to crack down on the ruthless criminal gangs who prey on vulnerable people by facilitating these dangerous journeys.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I am truly saddened to learn of the tragic loss of life in French waters this morning.

“My thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones at this time.

“We are in touch with our French counterparts who are leading on the response and have offered whatever support they need as they investigate this incident.

“This tragic news highlights the dangers that come with crossing the Channel and I will do everything I can to stop callous criminals exploiting vulnerable people.”

Dover MP Natalie Elphicke, who has been outspoken on the issue of Channel crossings, tweeted: “It is terrible that tragedy has struck in the Channel again. People traffickers have no regard for life, no matter how old or young.

“These perilous crossings must be stopped, once and for all, before there is more loss of life in these stormy winter seas.”

Care4Calais founder Clare Moseley said the refugee community in Calais is “utterly devastated”.

She said: “We are grieving for the victims, we stand in sympathy and solidarity with their families and friends."