British rescuers tried to find the sinking boat after migrants called for help


British rescuers responded to calls for help from migrants on a sinking dinghy in the English Channel but were unable to find them, an investigation has found.

An interim report released on the anniversary of the worst disaster of its kind, which killed at least 27 victims, said air and sea investigations had been carried out.

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The Marine Accident Investigation Branch said 34 people left a beach near Dunkirk in a small inflatable boat on the evening of Nov. 23, 2021.

“During the crossing, the migrants got into trouble and went into the sea,” the report added.

“Some people on board the boat called to notify the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centers (MRCC) ashore of their situation.

“The MRCC staff in Dover responded to the calls for help and sent British surface and air forces to search the area where the distressed migrants were located. However, nothing has been found.”

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At 1pm on 24 November 2021, a French fishing crew reported bodies in the water about 9 miles off the coast of Calais.

Two survivors and 27 bodies were recovered from the sea and brought there

France, while the remaining five passengers were missing.

The MAIB investigation is separate from a judicial inquiry in France, which learned that French authorities told drowning migrants they were in British waters and to call 999.

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Relatives of the drowned victims say they have not yet been contacted by the British inquiry and have vowed to fight for justice for their loved ones.

Vigils would be held Thursday night in Dunkirk, Folkestone and outside Parliament in London.


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