Child among five people dead in attempted Channel crossing

ITV News Correspondent John Ray reports from Dover after seven people died attempting to cross the Channel from France

Three men, a child and a woman have died attempting to cross the Channel from France, according to a French coastguard statement.

A small boat was carrying more than 110 people when it got into difficulties off the coast of northern French, a statement shared with the BBC read.

A rescue team was deployed from the beach of Wimereux, a seaside town in Pas-de-Calais, French newspaper La Voix du Nord reported.

A father of a four-year-old girl was among the survivors, the newspaper reported, saying that his daughter was in an emergency condition.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the “tragic” incident reported in the Channel “underscores” the need for the deterrent effect of the Rwanda plan.

“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 because there’s a certain element of compassion about everything that we’re doing."

“We want to prevent people making these very dangerous crossings," he told reporters as he travelled to Poland on Tuesday. "People need to know that if they try and come here illegally they won’t be able to stay, they’ll be returned either to their own country or Rwanda."

It is unknown exactly how many people attempted to cross the Channel overnight, but the newspaper reported that "around 100" people had already been picked up on the Abeille Normandie emergency tow boat.

They would be dropped off at the port of Boulogne, the newspaper reported.

Three helicopters and multiple rescue boats were deployed to look for others, and the search was reportedly ongoing at 8am UK time. Dozens of firefighters were also among the authorities involved in the rescue efforts.

The head of Calais' regional government said that more than 100 people had been crammed on board. And, despite the disaster, half refused to be rescued and tried to continue their journey.

Footage shows a crowded boat full of people attempting to make the dangerous journey from the French coast to the UK

The mild weather were said to be "favourable" in terms of conditions for boats on the water.

In response to the news Home Secretary James Cleverly said “these tragedies have to stop".

"I will not accept a status quo which costs so many lives. This Government is doing everything we can to end this trade, stop the boats and ultimately break the business model of the evil people smuggling gangs, so they no longer put lives at risk.”

Illegal Migration Minister Michael Tomlinson said reports of further deaths in the English Channel were “absolutely chilling”.

Asked about the reports on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, he said: “It is absolutely chilling to hear that. We have had fatalities now in the Channel for nine consecutive months.”

Sir Keir Starmer called the the PM's plan to stop the boats a "gimmick" and stated that the government had lost control of the borders.

Evidence shared exclusively with ITV News shows that the large sums of government money poured into policing small boat crossings on the French side of the Channel, are failing to control the problem, Correspondent Peter Smith reports

The reports of deaths in the Channel come just hours after the controversial Rwanda Bill, which will see asylum seekers deported to the East African nation, passed through parliament.

The decision came in the late hours on Monday after hours of back and forth between the House of Commons and the Lords.

Mr Sunak has made "stopping the boats" a key pledge of his leadership, and sees the Rwanda scheme, which was launched by Boris Johnson two years ago, as a vital deterrent to Channel crossings.

Earlier on Monday, Mr Sunak pledged that the first one-way flight to Rwanda will set off in 10-12 weeks.

A number of human rights organisations have spoken out against the Bill, with reference to the reported deaths, saying it will do little to prevent the crossings and will just cause further harm to those trying to make the journey.

The Refugee Council described the reports as “devastating” and “all the more tragic” coming so soon after the Rwanda Bill was passed in Parliament.

Enver Solomon, the council’s chief executive, said it is "shocking to learn of the terrible loss of yet more lives in the Channel this morning."

“This is another devastating human tragedy that could and should have been avoided – and for it to happen just hours after the Government’s Rwanda Bill became law makes it all the more tragic.

"We aren't going to see thousands and thousands of people sent to Rwanda. Instead, we're going to see tens of thousands stuck in limbo, in a permanent state of crisis with nothing to

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