31 migrants die trying to cross the English Channel

Thirty-one migrants died trying to cross the English Channel from France, as the Dutch Prime Minister said he was “taken aback” by the scale of the tragedy.

Thousands of migrants have been attempting to cross the Channel to Britain in increasingly dangerous circumstances, including smuggling people in inflatable dinghies through the Channel Tunnel.

Twenty-six people were rescued and 23 were found dead on Thursday, following a maritime search and rescue operation by France, Belgium, and the UK.

As the waters remained rough on Friday, the rescue operation continued to bring seven more bodies to shore. The last three people were brought to the town of Dunkirk.

The Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte expressed his shock and sorrow at the news.

“How do you recover from this?” he asked. “This has really shocked us all,” he added.

The migrants were from several countries including Syria, Sudan, and Eritrea.

Two men are in custody in France on suspicion of human trafficking. France’s interior minister Gérard Collomb said one of the two men was suspected of making the fateful crossing.

The accident happened just five miles off the coast of Calais and more than 2,000 metres from the main Channel Tunnel hub in Coquelles.

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