18 December 2022

19-year-old charged in connection with migrant boat deaths in the Channel

18 December 2022

A teenager has been charged with facilitating attempted illegal entry to the UK after four people died when a migrant boat capsized in the Channel on Wednesday.

Ibrahima Bah, 19, of no fixed address, has been remanded in custody and will appear before Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Monday, Kent Police said.

A major rescue operation off the Kent coast began at 2.16am on December 14 after reports of a boat in distress, with the Royal Navy, French navy, Coastguard, RNLI lifeboats, ambulance service and police involved.

A total of 39 people were safely brought to shore, while four others were pronounced dead.

The circumstances surrounding the deaths are being investigated by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, assisted by the National Crime Agency.

A man was arrested in connection with the incident on Friday, and on Sunday Kent Police said the Crown Prosecution Service authorised a charge against Bah of knowingly facilitating the attempted arrival in the UK of people he knew or had reasonable cause to believe were asylum seekers.

Police are continuing to work to establish the identity of those who died and locate their next of kin.

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