Six migrants died and about 50 were rescued after their boat capsized as they attempted to cross the English Channel, the French maritime department said on Saturday.
A commercial vessel passing by the French commune of Sangatte spotted a boat overnight that appeared to be idle and reported it to the Regional Operating Surveillance and Rescue Center.
France sent five ships and a helicopter to the rescue. They picked up 43 people, including six in serious condition. One person was airlifted to a Calais hospital. Two British vessels came to assist in the rescue effort, bringing some 13 people to safety. The migrants were transferred to the port of Calais, while the 13 picked up by British ships were taken to the port town of Dover.
“Unfortunately, the person transported to the Calais hospital and the five people rescued by the Notre Dame du Risban [rescue ship] have been pronounced dead,” the press release read.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Born praised rescue crews for saving the lives of about 50 shipwrecked people and offered her thoughts to the victims. Herve Berville, a French secretary of state in charge of marine affairs, has been dispatched to Calais.
Image credit: Matt Hardy