Department for Transport
Independent inquiry launched into 2021 Channel crossing tragedy
Announcing an inquiry into the events of 24 November 2021, when at least 27 people lost their lives crossing the Channel.
- Transport Secretary Mark Harper announces inquiry into the events of 24 November 2021, when at least 27 people lost their lives crossing the Channel
- inquiry will allow a full and independent investigation into the circumstances of the deaths to take place
- announcement follows yesterday’s publication of the Marine Accident Investigation Branch report into the tragedy
Transport Secretary Mark Harper has announced an inquiry is to be established to look into the events of 24 November 2021, when at least 27 people lost their lives crossing the Channel.
The independent, non-statutory inquiry will be designed to allow a full and independent investigation into the circumstances of the deaths to take place in the absence of a normal coroner’s inquest.
The announcement of the inquiry follows yesterday’s publication of a report by the Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) outlining the circumstances surrounding the tragedy.
Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, yesterday said:
Today our thoughts are with the families of all those involved in the tragic events of 24 November 2021.
I am grateful to the Marine Accident Investigation Branch for their report examining this tragic incident, and the government will carefully consider its findings and recommendations. As the report recognises, the operational picture in the Channel has changed significantly since 24 November 2021, and I know that HM Coastguard continuously seeks to learn lessons and improve.
Every day, hundreds of courageous responders from HM Coastguard and other UK agencies, including volunteers, stand ready to respond around the clock to every search and rescue operation involving small boats in the Channel. This incident reinforces the scale of the task they face.
The inquiry I have announced today will allow a thorough and independent investigation into the circumstances of the deaths to take place, further to the MAIB’s report, to give the families of the victims the clarity they deserve. I know that the Coastguard will engage fully and openly with it.
On the day of the tragedy, 1,227 people attempted to cross the Channel. HM Coastguard search and rescue operations have adapted to the changes in demand presented by small boats in the Channel.
The fundamental role of HM Coastguard is to save lives at sea by responding to any person in distress, and the service works unceasingly to save anyone that needs help.
The inquiry being established will look into who the deceased were, and when, where and in what circumstances they came by their deaths.
It will also consider what further lessons can be learned from the events of 24 November 2021 and, if appropriate, make recommendations to reduce the risk of a similar event occurring.
A chair and full terms of reference for the Inquiry will be announced by the Department for Transport in due course.
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