Europe

Calais migrant crisis: Man found on Eurotunnel train roof dies

Channel Tunnel entrance Image copyright Chris Ison
Image caption French authorities said the man was most likely killed by overhead power lines

A migrant has died after being electrocuted at the entrance to the Eurotunnel in Calais, French police have said.

The man was pronounced as dead after being found on the roof of a freight train at the Channel Tunnel.

He is the 10th person killed in or near the tunnel while trying to reach Britain since late June.

A friend told the BBC the dead man was Abdel Kader Hanna, who was in his early 30s and came from southern Syria.

A Syrian migrant called Khaled whose journey is being followed by the BBC, said the dead man was travelling with two family members, a sister and a male relative, and had been in Calais for one week.

Khaled told the BBC's Emma Jane Kirby he had heard Abdel had been in a group of 10 people when he died.

The men had been trying to jump on a train as it slowed down.

One of the men told Khaled how Abdel had been "trying to stand on something above the track" and was electrocuted.

Train searched

In recent weeks new security measures introduced at the tunnel entrance have led to a fall in intrusion attempts.

Eurotunnel Le Shuttle's passenger service was operating with some timetable disruption and a waiting time of about 30 minutes in the terminal on its Folkestone to Calais route.

BBC Paris correspondent Hugh Schofield said the man had got through the fences surrounding the terminal, and climbed onto one of the shuttles that carry lorries through the tunnel, where the authorities say he was electrocuted, presumably by overhead power lines.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Attempts by migrants to enter the Channel Tunnel have declined - but hundreds of people are still camped in Calais

Eurotunnel confirmed that a freight train was stopped at about 22:20 on Thursday because of the presence of migrants on the tracks.

When the train was searched, a number of migrants were found on board, with one unconscious and one injured, the company said in a statement. They were immediately taken into care by the emergency services.

'Fraught with danger'

The authorities later confirmed the death of one of the migrants.

"This sad incident shows once again that any attempt to travel illegally through the Channel Tunnel is fraught with danger," Eurotunnel said.

Eurotunnel has said that migrants are making about 150 attempts to get into the terminal each night, down from a high of about 2,000 earlier in the year.

The situation in Calais is part of a wider migrant crisis across Europe, with huge numbers of people heading north from the Mediterranean.

Croatia has closed seven of its eight road border crossings with Serbia following a huge influx of migrants.

Officials said they had no choice after more than 13,000 people entered the country since Hungary fenced off its border with Serbia earlier this week.

The UK received more than one in 28 of new asylum claims in European Union countries between April and June, according to figures released by the EU's data agency Eurostat.

Geneva-based inter-governmental body the International Organisation for Migration said a record 473,887 migrants had crossed the Mediterranean into Europe so far in 2015.

This includes at least 182,000 Syrians, almost 40% of the total.

Correction 23 September 2015: This report has been amended to clarify some of the details of Khaled's account of events.

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