A 16-year-old Sudanese migrant has washed up dead on a French beach while trying to cross the Channel to Britain.
The teenager got into difficulty in the sea on Tuesday night and was discovered at Sangatte, near Calais, this morning.
He is thought to have fallen overboard from an inflatable boat while attempting the crossing.
Dozens of migrants reached the UK from France by small boat today, after crossing the Channel overnight to beat the storm.
Home Secretary Priti Patel described the death ‘upsetting and tragic’ and called on the France to work with the UK to stop ‘abhorrent people smugglers’.
She wrote: ‘This is an upsetting and tragic loss of a young life. This horrendous incident serves as a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people.
‘Working together we are determined to stop them.’
The boy, 16, fell overboard while attempting to cross the Channel last night. Dozens of migrants reached the UK today after setting out last night from France to try and dodge the storm
She was responding to a tweet from France’s Citizenship Minister Marlene Schiappa, who said: ‘Immense sadness: a 16-year-old Sudanese migrant who disappeared at sea last night was found dead on Sangatte beach this morning.’
Ms Schiappa added that the ‘unbearable drama mobilises us against smugglers who take advantage of the distress of human beings’.
Bella Sankey, director of Detention Action, said: ‘It is devastating to learn that a child has now died in the Channel while trying to seek safety in the UK.
‘This is a horrifying but wholly expected death.
‘We have repeatedly warned Priti Patel it was only a matter of time before her toxic policy to deny safe and legal routes to the UK would cost lives.
‘This death lies firmly at her door. She should consider her position.’
Ms Patel previously insisted she is working to make the Calais to Dover migrant route ‘completely unviable’.
She earlier warned France the UK will not cough up millions of pounds for anti-migrant patrols unless it agrees to take back more refugees as she prepares sweeping changes to the ‘broken’ immigration system.
The Home Secretary told Tory MPs that she was preparing legal changes that would ‘send the left into meltdown’.
In a Zoom call with hardline backbenchers she suggested that the system was being ‘exploited by leftie Labour-supporting lawyers’ who were doing everything they could to stop the Government removing people.
And she said that France’s demand for £30million to fund Channel patrols and surveillance would be dependent on it taking in more of those seeking to get to the UK, the Times reported.
Today’s tragedy is believed to be first known migrant death this year despite more than 4,800 making the treacherous crossing.
Last August, two people died trying to reach Britain – one of them an Iranian woman who fell overboard and whose body was found in Dutch waters weeks later.
And a 48-year-old Iraqi man was found dead in Belgian waters after he tried to swim to the UK using plastic bottles as a makeshift life jacket.
Recent reports have revealed how traffickers take advantage of vulnerable asylum seekers desperately fleeing their homelands by offering a paid-for arrangement at a camp in Calais.
The most expensive package, gold, costs £10,000 and means you get a larger boat with better conditions, less other people and lifejackets, as reported by The Sun.
One migrant who was hoping to make the journey in the next few days told the newspaper: ‘The prices vary. It depends on the size of the boat and how many people are inside.
‘People come around offering the crossings. We pay and keep in touch. They tell us when and where to go and pick us up.
‘I’m looking forward to it. Britain is like heaven to me!’
The silver package costs between £3,000 and £5,000, and means you get a worse boat. And the lowest package, bronze, means you pay a prize of £1,000 or less and are often crammed onto a stolen boat.
So far this year, at least 4,822 migrants have reached Britain by boat.
August has seen a record 1,265 land already – smashing the 1,118 who arrived throughout July.
On Sunday, a migrant in his 20s was attacked by a thug who saw him land on the beach at Kingsdown near Deal, Kent.