Migrants' dinghy sank after being 'hit by large container ship' leaving 27 dead

Officials in France said the inflatable boat was “very fragile” before it ran into trouble when its passengers tried to cross the English Channel to the UK

A boat with migrants leaves France for Great Britain (

Image: REUTERS)

The rubber dinghy, which tragically overturned and killed at least 27 people, could have collided with a container ship, reports say.

Officials in France said the ship was “very frail” before it ran into trouble on Wednesday when its passengers tried to cross the English Channel to the UK.

Five women and a girl are said to have been among the victims of what has been described as the deadliest incident of its kind of all time.

The official French government toll was initially set at 31 but was later revised to 27.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin described the victims’ ship as “very fragile” and added that it was “like a pool being sprinkled in your garden”.

Migrants try to cross the English Channel (file photo)
(

Image:

Getty Images)

A Report in The Voice of the North, a regional daily, claimed the boat “collided with a large ship” which it said was a “container ship”.

These reports have not yet been confirmed in the wake of the tragedy in which two people with severe hypothermia also became seriously ill.

Two suspected people smugglers are currently in custody in Calais after they were arrested north of Dunkirk near the Belgian border, according to the French daily Liberation.

The Dunkirk Public Prosecutor’s Office has launched a preliminary investigation into “assisted entry to stay illegally in an organized group” and “serious homicide”.

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According to fishermen, more migrants than usual left the north coast of France to take advantage of the calm seas, even though the water was bitterly cold.

A fisherman called emergency services after seeing an empty dinghy and motionless people nearby.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was “shocked, appalled and deeply saddened” after the tragedy.

He said, “Now is the time for all of us to work together and break these bonds that are literally getting away with murder.”

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