Police charge 19-year-old in connection with capsized small boat crossing where four people died

Image Kent Police

A teenager has been charged with facilitating attempted illegal entry into the United Kingdom in connection with a small boat crossing this month where at least four people lost their lives.

Ramsgate RNLI was among the crews tasked to a search and rescue during the early hours of December 14 after a small boat carrying almost 50 people capsized in the English Channel.

Some 40 people were brought to shore and at least four people died in their attempt to make the crossing from France.

Of those rescued, 31 were pulled to safety by the crew of a scallop fishing boat owned by Oceanic Drifter Fishing.

A multi-agency operation got underway at a little after 3am that day involving HM Coastguard, Navy, Border Force, RNLI crews from Ramsgate, Dover, Dungeness, Hastings, Kent Police and South East Coast Ambulance Service as well as the French Navy.

An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the deaths of the four people was launched by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, assisted by the National Crime Agency.

A 19-year-old man has now been charged in connection with the incident.

A Kent Police spokesperson said: “ On Friday 16 December, a man was arrested in connection with the incident. The Crown Prosecution Service has authorised a charge against Ibrahima Bah of knowingly facilitating the attempted arrival in the United Kingdom of people he knew or had reasonable cause to believe were asylum seekers.

“The 19-year-old, of no fixed address, was remanded in custody and will appear before Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Monday 19 December.”

Officers are continuing to work to establish the identity of the deceased and locate the next of kin. Anyone who has any information which could assist enquiries into the incident should visit mipp.police.uk/operation/NATIONAL22Y08-PO1

Ramsgate RNLI among crews involved in major operation after small boat capsizes making Channel crossing to UK

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