Channel crossings: Nearly 100 migrants make journey to UK around a week after family deaths

Attemps come amid narrow window of calm conditions

Michael Drummond
Friday 06 November 2020 22:44 GMT
Four people - including two children - died last week after their boat capsized in the Channel
Four people - including two children - died last week after their boat capsized in the Channel (AP)

Nearly 100 migrants crossed to the UK on Thursday and Friday, around a week after a Kurdish-Iranian family was killed making the same journey.

Dozens braved chilly November conditions in the English Channel in a bid to reach Britain.

On Thursday, a young child wrapped in a hooded coat and life jacket and a woman believed to be their mother were among those led ashore by immigration officials.

More people arrived on Friday aboard three boats, bringing the number to 96 people across the two days, the Home Office confirmed.

The crossings are the first following the deaths of a Kurdish-Iranian family, who lost their lives when their overcrowded boat sank off the coast of France last week.

Rasoul Iran-Nejad and his wife Shiva Mohammad Panahi, both aged 35, lost their lives along with their children, nine-year-old Anita and six-year-old Armin, in the tragedy.

Their baby son Artin, just 15 months old, was also on board and is missing, presumed dead.

But, despite the heartbreak in the Channel last week, Border Force and French patrols were busy in the Dover Strait as more people tried to cross aboard small boats.

The attempts came as the Channel, which has been unsettled in recent weeks, saw a narrow window of calm conditions.

Air temperatures were milder at 11-12C with the sea a little warmer at around 13-14C, according to the Met Office.

However, conditions are expected to deteriorate again following the period of calm as different weather systems arrive.

Numbers of people crossing the Channel dropped off sharply in October and November, likely as a result of colder temperatures and choppy seas.

Nonetheless more than 7,500 migrants have successfully made the crossing to the UK this year.

This comes despite Priti Patel, the UK home secretary, repeatedly vowing to make the route "unviable".

Press Association

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