Man charged with manslaughter over small boat crossing deaths

Small boat crossings

A 19-year-old man has been charged with manslaughter in connection with a small boat crossing in December where 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 more than 40 people capsized in the English Channel.

Some 39 people were brought to shore but 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.

The circumstances surrounding the deaths are the subject of an investigation by detectives from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, assisted by the National Crime Agency.

As part of the investigation, Ibrahima Bah has been charged with four counts of manslaughter and is due to appear before Folkestone Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 13 April.

The 19-year-old, of no fixed address, was previously charged with facilitating attempted illegal entry into the United Kingdom and is due to stand trial for that offence later this year.

Officers are continuing to work to establish the identity of the deceased and locate the next of kin.