Several people were found dead on Wednesday on the English Channel — the waters between France and the UK — after their inflatable dinghy capsized, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.
The incident reportedly ocurred near the French coastal cities of Calais and Dunkirk.
“Twenty-four corpses were recovered and 26 people are alive,” Franck Dhersin, mayor of the French district of Teteghem and vice president of transport for the northern France region was quoted as saying.
Local news channel BFM reported that at least 27 people had died in the incident.
A rescue operation was still underway, after local fishermen spotted the an empty small dinghy and with bodies on the water, according to Reuters news agency.
Two helicopters and three police or rescue boats were at the scene, local authorities said.
The English Channel is one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes. The currents on the water are strong, which makes the seemingly short voyage rather dangerous.
jcg/aw (Reuters, AFP, AP)