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France says pregnant women among 27 dead in Manche


France’s interior minister said pregnant women and children were among at least 27 migrants killed as they tried to cross the Channel in a small boat that sank

CALAIS, France – Children and pregnant women were among at least 27 migrants who died when their small boat sank during an attempt to cross the Channel, a French government official said on Thursday.

Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin also announced the arrest of a fifth suspected trafficker allegedly involved in what has been the deadliest migration tragedy to date on the dangerous seaway.

In their immediate response to the sinking, the French authorities gave slightly different figures on the number of dead, from 27 to 31. The figure used Thursday by Darmanin was 27.

Darmanin said authorities were working to determine the nationality of the victims of Wednesday’s sinking. Two survivors were treated for hypothermia. One is Iraqi, the other Somali, Darmanin said on RTL radio.

“Pregnant women and children have died,” he said, without giving details of their number.

Darmanin had already announced Wednesday the arrest of four suspected traffickers suspected of being linked to the sunken boat. He told RTL that a fifth suspected trafficker was arrested overnight.

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