French Interior Ministry on Thursday confirmed the death of 27 migrants who died after their boat capsized in the English Channel.
A spokesperson for the ministry said that the death toll of the tragedy, which was revised down from 31, was still preliminary.
On Wednesday, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin had spoken of 31 dead and 33 people on board the vessel that sank. Two people were rescued, he said.
The spokesperson said nothing conclusive could be said yet about how many people were on board the boat. Four smugglers who may have been involved in the failed crossing from France have been arrested.
French President Emmanuel Macron called for a crisis meeting at the European level, saying France would not allow the English Channel to become a graveyard or let smugglers put human lives at risk.
He demanded an immediate increase in resources for the EU’s Frontex border protection agency.
A rescue operation was underway in the Channel by air and sea as French and British authorities search for anyone still in the water.
The emergency search was sparked when a fishing boat sounded the alarm earlier on Wednesday, after spotting several people at sea off the coast of France.
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