Rescue services

UK and French rescue services could be charged with manslaughter of drowning Channel migrants

A spokesperson for the French maritime prefecture said its rescuers are investigating every call they receive and an investigation is underway into the calls received that night.

“Sometimes we get hundreds of calls in a night, every call is handled, and we have to determine which boat they are referring to,” said Véronique Magnin.

Callers sometimes express a preference to be rescued by the British, she said. However, this would not change France’s legal obligation to act.

The British Coast Guard refused to comment on Utopia 56’s legal complaint. It said it had received on 24 November more than 90 Channel area alerts, including 999 emergency calls.

“Every call has been answered, assessed and dealt with, including the deployment of search and rescue resources where appropriate,” he said.

The tragedy has escalated already deeply tense diplomatic tensions between London and Paris after a series of fishing Brexit disagreements.

Swapping blame, Britain called on France to do more to prevent migrants from leaving their shores, while French President Emmanuel Macron accused Boris Johnson of being “not serious” in his search for a solution to prevent such passages.

According to the investigation, the migrants left in a rubber dinghy from Loon-Plage in northern France overnight.

After their boat capsized, only two men, an Iraqi Kurd and a Sudanese national, were rescued unharmed.

According to the Iraqi survivor, there were a total of 33 people on board.

The complaint came after a 16-year-old Sudanese migrant died after being hit by a truck near Calais. According to the Boulogne-sur-Mer prosecutor’s office, the victim tried to board the vehicle in a logistics area early Monday morning.

“He managed to climb between the cab and the trailer. And just as the driver started again, the migrant fell, ”he said.

The Eastern European driver was slightly injured after a group of 40 migrants threw stones at his vehicle. An investigation has been opened for manslaughter.

Meanwhile, prosecutors have opened a separate investigation into “beatings resulting in unintentional death” after a Portuguese truck driver was found dead, apparently after a scuffle with a group of migrants seeking to board his car. truck in Beuvrequen near Calais.

The man had a wound under his eyebrow, according to the local prosecutor. However, the 48-year-old man, who had health problems, did not die from the beatings but from “heart failure”.

“There may be no connection between the blow and the death,” the prosecutor said.

According to a source close to the investigation, the driver had telephoned the police to alert them to the presence of migrants in his caravan, triggering a fight. He then took refuge in a nearby truck to collapse.