At least 31 people drowned on Nov. 24 after a boat carrying migrants capsized off the French port of Calais as they tried to cross the English Channel to the United Kingdom.
According to French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, five women and a child were among the dead.
French maritime authorities said in a statement that helicopters and boats have been deployed in the area as the search for other survivors continues.
“The operation is currently still ongoing and several survivors have been recovered,” the maritime authorities stated.
The nationalities of the migrants onboard is not yet known.
French and UK authorities blamed smugglers for the incident.
“The responsibility for this tragedy is above all that of the smugglers, who endanger the lives of men, women, and children without any scruples,” Darmanin said.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said that the incident “serves as the starkest possible reminder of the dangers of these Channel crossings organized by ruthless criminal gangs.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he was “shocked, appalled, and deeply saddened by the loss of life at sea in the Channel.”
Johnson spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron following the incident.
“They agreed on the urgency of stepping up joint efforts to prevent these deadly crossings and to do everything possible to stop the gangs responsible for putting people’s lives at risk,” a statement from the UK government said.
Macron called for “immediate reinforcement” of European Union border agency Frontex and vowed “to find those responsible” for the tragedy.
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