At least 27 people died yesterday after a dinghy capsized while trying to cross the Channel to the UK, according to reports, while two people were rescued.
A pregnant woman was among those who died in the tragic incident, according to rescuers. Around five people-smugglers have since been arrested.
“In France what do we do? We arrest the smugglers,” French politician Franck Dhersin told local TV station BFMTV.
“To fight them, there’s only one way – we need to stop the organisations, you need to arrest the mafia chiefs.
“And the mafia chiefs live in London. They live in London peacefully, in beautiful villas, they earn hundreds of millions of euros every year, and they reinvest that money in the City.
“And so it’s very easy for the tax authorities to find them”.
Three helicopters and two police boats attended the scene, following a fisherman calling for rescue after seeing an empty dinghy afloat and motionless bodies nearby.
Fisherman Nicolas Margolle told Reuters that he too had seen two small boats on Wednesday, with one being empty.
Margolle added that he saw more small boats making the treacherous crossing across one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, explaining that the weather was good – but cold. Around 600 people reportedly tried to make the crossing yesterday.
It is the worst-ever incident involving migrants attempting to reach the UK via the Crossing, according to French maritime authorities. The scale of the incident has prompted Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hold an emergency COBRA meeting.
While Home Secretary Priti Patel is expected to address MPs later today.