Hours After Rwanda Bill Approval, Child Among 5 Dead During Crossing Attempt in English Channel

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At least five migrants, including a young child, have lost their lives in an attempt to cross the English Channel from France to Britain. The tragedy unfolded on Tuesday just hours after the UK government’s controversial Rwanda asylum plan was given final approval by Parliament.

French authorities confirmed the bodies of three men, one woman, and a child were recovered at Wimereux beach in northern France following a failed crossing bid involving over 110 migrants packed aboard a small boat. Local reports identified the child victim as a 4-year-old girl, whose distraught father was among around 100 survivors rescued and taken to the port city of Boulogne.

The incident has refocused scrutiny on the dangerous migrant routes across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. French emergency crews described a “crowd panic” aboard the severely overcrowded vessel as it foundered in the Channel’s strong currents, despite favorable weather conditions that typically see a surge in crossing attempts.

The timing could not be more poignant, coming shortly after UK lawmakers passed legislation enabling asylum seekers arriving by irregular means, such as via small boats, to be deported for processing in Rwanda – a plan condemned by human rights groups.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman called the latest loss of life “intolerable” and vowed to take action. “These tragedies have to stop. I will not accept a status quo which costs so many lives,” she stated. However, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has pledged the first Rwanda deportation flights will commence within weeks despite ongoing court challenges.