File photo: The English Channel is one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, making it highly dangerous for small boats | Credit: Twitter @Premarmanche
File photo: The English Channel is one of the busiest shipping routes in the world, making it highly dangerous for small boats | Credit: Twitter @Premarmanche

The body of a boy who tried to cross the English Channel by boat has been found on the French coast near Calais. Activists say that there are not enough "safe and legal routes to the UK".

A boy's body was found on Wednesday on the beach of the English Channel coastal town of Sangatte. He had tried to cross the Channel together with a 16-year-old companion, who survived and was being treated at a hospital, according to local broadcasters.

The companion said the boy who died was also 16, though media reports said that he may have been 18. He was reportedly carrying documents.

An autopsy was expected to confirm drowning as the cause of death.

'Immense sadness'

The French government's minister for citizenship issues, Marlene Schiappa, published a reaction to the boy's death on Twitter, expressing "immense sadness" and promising a greater mobilization against "traffickers who profit from human misery."

Schiappa said the boy was Sudanese.

Britain's Home Secretary, Priti Patel, also writing on Twitter, said: "This horrendous incident serves as a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people." Patel added: "Working together, we are determined to stop them."

According to the prosecution, an initial investigation indicated the two boys had tried to cross the channel alone without the aide of people smugglers, local broadcasters reported.

Read more: UK faces new surge in migrant arrivals

More migrants crossed Channel

On Wednesday, dozens of other migrants reached the south of England, among them children.

At least 650 migrants have crossed the English Channel in small boats so far this month. More than 4,000 have made the crossing since the start of the year.

France has rescued more than 150 migrants in recent weeks. Britain's Royal Air Force has also been patrolling the area.

Bella Sankey, director of the support and advocacy organization Detention Action, said the British government had not done enough to create "safe and legal routes to the UK". She called what happened to the drowned boy "a horrifying but wholly expected death."

With dpa, afp

 

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