Migrant almost walks to UK through Tunnel

A migrant arrested inside the Channel Tunnel connecting England and France is thought to have walked almost all of the treacherous 50-kilometre (31-mile) undersea rail link, reports said Thursday.

Migrant almost walks to UK through Tunnel
A migrant walks along the tracks heading towards the Channel Tunnel. Photo: AFP

The Sudanese man was arrested close to the British entrance and “almost succeeded in walking through the tunnel”, a spokesman for owner Eurotunnel told BBC News.

A spike in the numbers of migrants trying to make the crossing has become a sensitive political issue in Britain, and the story was splashed across the front pages of Friday's newspapers.

A spokesman for Britain's Home Office said it had improved security by paying for more fencing at the French side and drafting in border guards and dogs.

“We continue to work closely with the French government and Eurotunnel to tackle the immediate pressures and longer-term issues involved in the situation in northern France,” the spokesman said.

Police in Kent, the county where the tunnel emerges, said that 40-year-old Abdul Rahman Haroun had been arrested and charged with causing an obstruction to an engine or carriage.

The Daily Telegraph reported that ministers were considering closing the tunnel to freight and passenger trains at night in response to the crisis.

Eurotunnel did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Woman lost at sea after attempting to cross from France to Britain

British and French campaigners have warned about the dangers of migrant Channel crossings after a woman attempting the journey went missing after falling into the sea last week.

Woman lost at sea after attempting to cross from France to Britain
Authorities have warned that the crossing is dangerous. Photo: AFP

If confirmed, the woman's death would be the first casualty in what is one of the world's busiest shipping lanes.

Lisa Doyle, director of advocacy at Britain's Refugee Council, called for “more safe and regular routes of travel” for migrants, warning that the trip through heavy marine traffic was “treacherous”.

“This border kills, silently,” said Calais Migrant Solidarity, a French non-governmental organisation, protesting against border enforcement policies  it says are becoming “more and more violent”.

British rescuers launched a search last Friday after reports that three people with life jackets had fallen into the sea from a boat carrying migrants across the Channel.

Two of the missing migrants were found but a woman remained unaccounted for. The search, which also involved Belgian and French coastguards, was suspended on Saturday.

The UK Home Office interior ministry on Monday said a “thorough and extensive” air and sea search had been carried out and it would pursue an investigation into the incident.

“Crossing the Channel in a small boat is a huge risk. The criminal gangs who perpetuate this are ruthless and do not care about loss of  life,” the ministry said in a statement.

Dozens of migrants have made the crossing in recent days.

Two were intercepted by British border guards last week crossing the 33km waterway in a kayak.

French authorities also last week rescued 11 migrants attempting the crossing after their boat capsized.