At least 31 people died on Wednesday (November 24th) after their ship capsized while sailing to cross the canal from France to the UK, Reuters reports.
The water canal between the two countries is among the parts with the most ship traffic as well as with strong water currents.
Overcrowded ships barely manage to stay afloat and are at the mercy of the waves trying to reach the UK coast.
Franck Dhersin, deputy head of regional transport and mayor of Teteghem in northern France, said the death toll had risen to 31 and two people were missing.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he would head to the coast.
"Strong emotions in the face of tragedy and multiple deaths as a result of the flooding of the ship with migrants", he wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson said that he is shocked by the deaths.
"My thoughts and sympathy are with the victims and their families… but this tragedy shows how dangerous it is to try to cross the canal this way." he said after chairing an urgent cabinet meeting.
Prior to Wednesday's tragedy, 14 people had drowned this year trying to reach the UK.
In 2020, seven people died and two disappeared, and in 2019, four people died that way.