Dozens of people were found dead on Wednesday in the English Channel — the waters between France and the UK — after their inflatable dinghy capsized.
The incident occurred near the French coastal cities of Calais and Dunkirk, when fishermen spotted the empty dinghy and bodies on the water. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said 34 people were believed to have been on the boat.
Darmanin said 31 bodies and two survivors were found in what he considered the worst-ever disaster involving migrants in the English Channel.
According to a database run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM)'s Missing Migrants Project, it was the deadliest migrant drowning incident in the English Channel since it began collecting data in 2014.
Darmanin told France's BFM TV that four suspected smugglers had been arrested in connection with the capsizing.
French President Emmanuel Macron reacted to the tragedy by calling for an emergency meeting of EU ministers involved in migration issues, saying he would not "let the Channel turn into a cemetery."