A Sudanese migrant who drowned trying to cross the Channel using shovels for oars has been identified as Abdulfatah Hamdallah.
Also known as Wajdi, he is understood to have had his asylum claim rejected in France recently and decided to risk the journey across the water to the UK.
His body was discovered on Sangatte beach, near Calais, on Wednesday morning after a walker found his friend suffering from hypothermia in the middle of the night. A major search took place before his body was found at 8am.
Documents he had with him gave a birth date of 1992, making him 28 years old, Philippe Sabatier, the deputy public prosecutor for Boulogne-sur-Mer, confirmed to Sky News.
Hamdallah, originally from West Kordofan, a state in Sudan bordering the war-hit areas of Darfur and the Nuba Mountains, is believed to have fled the country in 2014.
Relatives told The Guardian he spent two years in Libya working as a car washer with his older brother before going to France via Italy.
A cousin told the newspaper he spoke to him from Calais, with Hamdallah claiming he may never see him again.
He last posted on Facebook in June, with a message written in Arabic that read: “On the palm of fate we walk, and don’t know what’s written”.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel described the incident as an “upsetting and tragic loss of a young life”.
She said: “This horrendous incident serves as a brutal reminder of the abhorrent criminal gangs and people smugglers who exploit vulnerable people.
“Working together we are determined to stop them.”
French authorities said they intercepted at least 41 migrants on Wednesday as they tried to cross the Channel, including a woman and three children who were rescued after their boat got into difficulty off the coast of Dunkirk.
Britain’s Border Force boats also picked up 50 migrants, including several children, on small boats in the Channel and brought them to Dover on Wednesday.
It comes amid ongoing tensions between the UK and France over a huge surge in border crossings.
UK Border Force wants boats intercepted in the middle of the Channel and returned to France to deter people from making the journey.
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