Channel migrants: Thirty rescued as man dies off French coast

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Image source, ReutersImage caption, A major rescue operation was launched off the coast at Berck-sur-Mer

A man has drowned and 30 other people have been brought to safety by French rescue services after they tried to cross the Channel to the UK.

The man fell overboard when the small migrant boat got into difficulty close to the French coast at Berck-sur-Mer, south of Boulogne.

Most of those rescued were on board the dinghy, but five people were picked up from a sandbank.

Friday's drowning is thought to be the first fatality in the Channel in 2022.

Prosecutors said the man who died on Friday was believed to be in his 20s and of Sudanese origin. Local media said the alarm was raised when someone on land spotted the boat getting into difficulty.

Last November, at least 27 peopled drowned in the Channel in the worst single incident involving migrant boats since the strait between northern France to the UK became a popular migration route.

The number of people who crossed the English Channel in small boats last year was three times the number for 2020.

Figures compiled by the BBC show at least 28,431 migrants made the journey in 2021.

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