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UK Charges Smuggler After Channel Capsize

FILE: In a previous incident, Migrants are helped ashore from a RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) lifeboat at a beach in Dungeness, on the south-east coast of England, on November 24, 2021, after being rescued while crossing the English Channel.

LONDON - A 19-year-old appeared in court on Thursday charged with the manslaughter of four people who died trying to cross the Channel to the UK in a small boat.

Ibrahima Bah, who has previously been charged with facilitating illegal entry to the UK, was remanded in custody and ordered to appear at a further hearing on May 15.

The charges relate to the capsize of an inflatable boat packed with migrants which got into trouble in freezing temperatures in December last year.

A rescue operation plucked 39 people from the water and took them to safety. But four others were pronounced dead.

Their identities remain unknown. A coroner's inquest has been told they may have been from Senegal and Afghanistan.

The capsize came just over a year after at least 27 people died in the Channel trying to reach the UK from northern France.

More than 45,000 migrants attempted the perilous crossing last year, a record.

The UK government vowed to tighten the country's borders after it left the European Union.