London – Britain said on Wednesday that it had called off the search for a man lost at sea while attempting to cross the English Channel in a small boat with fellow migrants.
Border Force and UK Coastguard rescued two Somali men off the coast of Essex, eastern England, on Monday.
“An extensive joint search and rescue operation for an additional man, reported to have entered the sea in international waters, was carried out,” said the interior ministry.
“However, no one was found, and the search was concluded at around 2:00 pm on Tuesday.”
The two rescued men told British authorities that three other migrants, who were in the boat when they left France, had fallen overboard, according to The Times newspaper.
Two went missing while still in French waters, while a third went overboard in international waters, reported the newspaper.
“While the investigation into this incident continues, it is a reminder of the extreme dangers of crossing the Channel in small boats and the callous disregard for life shown by the criminal gangs,” said the UK ministry.
According to a count by Britain’s domestic news agency PA, more than 17,000 migrants have made the crossing to Britain in small boats since the beginning of the year, more than double the figure for the whole of 2020.