One woman drowned and another migrant was rushed to hospital in a critical condition after a dinghy carrying 66 people deflated at around 1am local time yesterday.
Hours later another migrant died as a boat packed with 80 people sank near Sangatte on the northern coast of France.
French emergency crews treated children suffering from hypothermia.
Rescuers performed CPR on a man in his mid-20s who was submerged and had gone into cardiac arrest, before taking him to hospital. He died later.
The clothes of some migrants were reportedly soaked in petrol leaking from jerrycans.
A source said: “The boat was sinking just after 7.30am, while it was still dark.
“There was chaos when riot police arrived, and tear gas was used to restrain dozens of people who had been on the boat.
“Five men were arrested, including a suspected people smuggler who was trying to get away. Some people on the boat
managed to escape on land, but others fell
into the water, including one who suffered a cardiac arrest.”
Two migrants reported missing were feared dead last night. The Daily Express has been told they are from Iraqi Kurdistan and their families have not been able to contact them.
At least eight asylum seekers have perished making the crossing this year. James Cleverly said it is “a horrific reminder of the people smugglers’ brutality”.
He added: “ Twenty-five thousand people have been averted from crossing this year – but we must and will do more. Every boat stopped is a potential life saved.” The Daily Express understands migrants are being forced into even larger and flimsier dinghies than before.
Sources suggest this is because more boats are being seized by the authorities, leading criminals to try to protect profits by buying cheap ones.
Officials expect a crackdown will lead to them seeking yet cheaper and riskier vessels.
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