Migrants drowned as footpath closed in France, freezing rain threatens England

A weekend of heavy rains led to scattered forest fires in France that prompted authorities to temporarily close the French coast to ferries and aircraft as nearby England prepared for snow and freezing temperatures.

Weekend weather was also a factor in the death of 33 migrants who died when their boat capsized in the Channel. French authorities discovered 31 bodies Sunday; six survivors and five others with serious injuries were taken to hospital.

The migrants had been aboard an overloaded dinghy when the boat overturned near the port of Poitiers, a fishing town roughly 220 miles from the English coast.

Officials said Monday that the 29 bodies found had been packed together. Four people were missing, and no one had been arrested in the incident.

One survivor of the riverbank accident told French reporters that he saw a 30-foot boat, which he said sank while he was on board with one other person.

The sinking capsized an estimated 40 people, most of them thought to be sub-Saharan Africans. On Monday, French authorities announced that border authorities had found a wooden boat in the English Channel that appeared to belong to the migrants.

In nearby England, 3.8 inches of snow is forecast to fall in western parts of the country by Friday morning. However, the fall is not expected to be nearly as heavy as a snowstorm that hit the area last year.

The winter weather is expected to leave much of England’s hills coated in white and many people could be out driving their cars to work by morning. However, most of the country will remain dry, temperatures will hover near freezing, and forecasters say wind will whip across the country.

Leave a Comment