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Body found in search for missing Channel migrant

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The body of a migrant who fell from a boat while crossing the Channel has been found, police said.

The woman fell from a boat off the coast of Ramsgate, Kent, on 9 August.

Nineteen others on onboard, who were from Iran and Iraq, were rescued and passed to immigration officers, the Home Office said at the time.

Kent Police said it is awaiting formal identification, but now believe a body found in Dutch waters on 18 August is that of the missing woman.

A large-scale search, which involved British, French and Belgian coastguards, was called off 24 hours after the woman fell overboard and police launched a missing person investigation.

Officers are now working with their counterparts in France to “establish the circumstances” of her death, Kent Police said.

Migrants in an inflatable dinghyImage copyrightAFP/MARINE NATIONALE
Image captionFrench authorities released this photo of migrants intercepted by coastguards this month

A Home Office spokeswoman said: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the missing woman at this terrible time.”

On Friday, the body of an Iraqi migrant, who is believed to have drowned while trying to swim to the UK, was found at a wind farm off the coast of Belgium.

More than 1,000 people have crossed the Channel in small boats this year, with 270 in August alone. Hundreds more have been rescued before entering British waters and returned to France.

Home Secretary Priti Patel is meeting French interior minister in Paris this afternoon to discuss how to respond to the growing number of crossings.


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