Seven-year-old girl dies in France in migrant crossing attempt

A previous migrant crossing across the Channel (PA Archive)
A previous migrant crossing across the Channel (PA Archive)

A seven-year-old girl has died amid efforts by migrants to cross the Channel to Britain.

The tragedy happened when a “flimsy” boat carrying 16 migrants capsized in northern France on Sunday morning.

The boat was 20 miles inland of Calais when it capsized at 6.30am on the Aa river at the town of Watten, according to reports.

The boat was "probably stolen" and "was not appropriately sized to carry so many people," the local authority Préfet du Nord said in a statement.

"A couple, whose origin is being determined, with their four children, including the mother who is pregnant, were on board," Préfet du Nord said.

"The couple's little daughter, aged 7, died from drowning."

It added the girl's parents, who were travelling with three more children, were taken to a hospital in Dunkirk.

It said police and firefighters were alerted to the capsized boat by a walker.

In total two men and six young children were taken to hospital, but their condition is not life-threatening.

More than 2,000 migrants have arrived in the UK so far this year after crossing the Channel and figures were up 13 per cent by the start of February.

Three migrants went missing in the Channel on Wednesday when high winds caused their boat to capsize.

Later, one of the group was confirmed dead and two others are thought to have drowned.

A statement from the French coastguard said the French Navy had carried out four rescue operations in the Channel on Wednesday, using boats and a helicopter, assisting around 180 people.