Migrant death toll rises to at least 27, says Calais Mayor

'This is no doubt the worst accident involving migrants trying to make it to Britain', says a local maritime official

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The drowning of 30 migrants in the English channel is the worst accident ever involving people trying to cross to Britain, a local maritime prefecture official said on Wednesday.

Before the accident, a total of 14 people had drowned this year trying to make it to Britain.

"This is no doubt the worst accident involving migrants trying to make it to Britain," she said.

Franck Dhersin, deputy head of regional transport and mayor of Teteghem, told Reuters that many corpses are probably still floating at sea and that he expects the death toll will rise further.

GB News Home Affairs Editor Mark White told the Afternoon Agenda: "Priti Patel tried over many occasions to get that message across that it was not worth making this perilous journey.

Enver Solomon, chief executive of the Refugee Council, said: “It’s heartbreaking to hear that the lives of more ordinary people have been lost on a harrowing journey to Britain in search of safety.

“How many tragedies like this must we see before the Government fundamentally changes its approach by committing to an ambitious expansion of safe routes for those men, women and children in desperate need of protection?

“Every day, people are forced to flee their home through no fault of their own. Now is the time to end the cruel and ineffective tactic of seeking to punish or push away those who try and find safety in our country.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has tweeted about the “utter tragedy” of more than 20 migrants dying after their boat sank in the Channel.

He said: “This is an utter tragedy. No one should have to risk their life in this way.

“Those seeking sanctuary need safe routes – the Government must work with the French authorities to provide them.”