A fourth person has been arrested on suspicion of immigration offences after five migrants including a child died trying to cross the English Channel.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) said an 18-year-old from Sudan was arrested on Wednesday evening at Manston migrant processing centre, in Kent, and is now being questioned in custody.

It comes as officers also detained a 22-year-old Sudanese man and a 22-year-old man from South Sudan on Wednesday.

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They were arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration and entering the UK illegally.

A 19-year-old man from Sudan initially arrested on Tuesday has since been released without charge and is now being dealt with by immigration authorities, the NCA added.

The 55 surviving boat passengers have already been interviewed and are expected to be spoken to further in the coming days.

More than 400 migrants arrived in the UK on the day the group died.

An NCA spokesperson added the agency and partners from Kent Police, Immigration Enforcement and Border Force are working with French counterparts to investigate the circumstances of the deadly incident on a beach near Wimereux, in northern France, on Tuesday.

A dinghy carrying more than 100 people set off from Wimereux at around 6am on Tuesday but got into difficulty.


Three men, a woman and a girl died, according to the French coastguard.

Some 49 people were rescued but 58 others refused to leave the boat and continued their journey towards the UK, the coastguard said in a statement, with several other boats later embarking on the crossing.

The incident reportedly took place as rival migrant groups all tried to scramble into the boat, causing it to become heavily overcrowded.

The tragedy unfolded just hours after Parliament passed legislation aimed at getting the Government’s plan to give asylum seekers a one-way ticket to Rwanda off the ground.

Tuesday’s crossings take the provisional total for the year so far to 6,667 – 20% higher than this time last year (5,546) but slightly lower (down 0.4%) than the figure recorded at this stage in 2022 (6,691).

Some 29,437 people made the journey in 2023, down 36% on a record 45,774 arrivals in 2022.

Campaigners said the Rwanda plan will not save lives as they lamented the news of more deaths due to the treacherous journey and called for the Channel not to become a graveyard for children.

But Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said the incident underscores the need for the deterrent the Government hopes sending migrants to the east African nation if they arrive illegally in the UK will bring.