At least 27 people, including many infants, have died after an inflatable boat carrying them tried to reach the coast of Normandy and capsized on Monday evening. Officials on Tuesday said that people believe the boat was deliberately sunk to prevent its passengers from being rescued.
Officials from the French coastal region of Normandy say the victims include between four and eight infants and children, and several adults. The age range of the victims is from 2-years-old to 57. It’s not yet clear how the migrants were from different countries, and there are some reports that of citizens of Nigeria, Gambia, Ghana, Mali, and Senegal.
The confirmed dead were evacuated from the area by a helicopter, with more bodies expected to be recovered from the sea. Earlier reports said the ship carrying the victims sank at around 6:45 p.m. local time.
Emergency services have been deployed to try to rescue victims in the water, and local officials said it could take a long time before the victims can be pulled to safety. According to the Associated Press, some rescuers in the area believe the passengers were aiming to make the journey to England, where boat smugglers usually load those on board small boats.
The incident is under investigation, and once more highlights the grave danger faced by migrants trying to reach Europe via the Mediterranean. The numbers trying to do so have declined in recent years but they are still frequent. In recent years, thousands have died, and the numbers of deaths continue to rise, to record levels this year. More than 4,300 migrants have died crossing the Mediterranean since January 2018. Between January and January, approximately 20,000 migrants have crossed the Mediterranean, compared to about 19,000 in 2017.
Read the full story at the Guardian.
Over 2,000 migrants detained while crossing Mediterranean so far this year
Thousands of migrants begin crossing Mediterranean again as death toll on Mediterranean soars