Man declared dead after being pulled from Channel

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A man has died while trying to cross the Channel to the UK.

The French authorities said the man was found unconscious and pulled from the water after going overboard.

A total of 32 people were rescued off Berck, near Calais, with hypothermia. They included five who were found stranded on a sandbank.

An investigation has been opened by the Boulogne-sur-Mer prosecutor.

Prosecutors said the man who died was in his 20s and believed to be of Sudanese origin.

The latest attempts at the dangerous crossing come despite sub-zero temperatures on the French coast, with at least one boat reported to have reached the UK.

Video purporting to be filmed from Dover on Friday showed a Border Force boat bringing at least 25 people in lifejackets to shore. They included women and children and a man limping.

Multiple Border Force vessels have been active in the Channel.

The death comes after at least 271 people on board 10 small boats reached Britain on Thursday, including a young child. So far this year, more than 450 people have made the life-threatening trip in small boats after a record-breaking year in 2021.

Mike Adamson, chief executive at British Red Cross, said: “It is devastating to hear that another person has lost their life attempting to cross the Channel. Our thoughts are with them and their loved ones, who may not even know yet what has happened. This loss comes far too soon after the deaths of 27 people at the end of last year.

“Every death in the Channel is a tragedy. It should be unacceptable to us that people are having to make dangerous crossings in freezing conditions in search of safety. Nobody puts their life at risk like this unless they feel they have no other option and are utterly desperate.

“There are no simple answers, but we urge the government to rethink its plans for making the UK’s asylum system harder to access. This should start with ambitious plans for new safe routes and a commitment to resettle 10,000 people a year.”

A spokesperson for Channel Rescue said: “Our hearts go out to their loved ones. This tragedy could have been prevented by providing safe routes. The inhumane policies of the British and EU governments must come to an end. We hope that those missing at sea are rescued soon and there is no further loss of life today.”