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French magistrates file charges against Channel rescuers over migrant deaths


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French magistrates have filed preliminary charges against five French maritime rescue personnel in a probe of the deadly sinking of a migrant craft in the English Channel in 2021 that killed 27 people.

The five, all military personnel, were handed a preliminary charge of not assisting people in danger, judicial authorities said.

Preliminary charges allow magistrates further time to investigate.


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There's not much news on the arrests. The UK made an arrest a few months ago:Channel migrants: Man arrested in UK over 27 dinghy deaths - BBC News

I think there are two separate avenues being explored: the culpability of traffickers facilitating the crossing in the first place, and the actions of the British and French coastguards.

It seems there may have been disagreement between the UK and France as to who was responsible for rescuing the migrants, leading to delays, when of course that is unacceptable.

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An investigation by Le Monde daily last year, based on recordings, found that the passengers first alerted officials in France's Channel rescue centre during the night, saying their boat was deflating and the engine had failed. The group sent their location via WhatsApp, but the authorities failed to respond.

It took 10 hours for rescue teams to intervene, when fishermen sounded the alarm.



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