Van driver killed in Calais after migrants block road with tree trunks

Van driver killed in Calais after migrants block road with tree trunks

A van driver has been killed in Calais after migrants caused a pile-up by blocking the road with tree trunks, French authorities said.

The vehicle, registered in Poland, smashed into other lorries on the A16 early on Tuesday morning and burst into flames, killing the man inside.

Nine Eritreans were found stowed in one of the lorries and were arrested, according to the Prefecture du Pas-de-Calais.

Crude roadblocks have been a long-time tactic for those desperate to infiltrate vehicles bound for the UK and has been a cause of concern for British hauliers.

Calais has seen a return of migrants to the area in recent months, less than a year after its "Jungle" camp was dismantled and residents relocated.

A spokesman for the Prefecture du Pas-de-Calais said the fatal crash took place at around 3.45am on Tuesday, between junction 49 and 50, near the town of Guemps.

He said: "This van hit one of the three trucks stopped by the block and set alight.

"The identity of the driver is not known at this stage, considering the state of the body."

The death comes on the eve of the British school holidays, during which thousands of families are expected to cross through the port at the start of their overseas break.

The UK-based Road Haulage Association (RHA) has previously warned of the risk drivers face passing through the area.

Chief executive Richard Burnett said: "Our worst fears have become a reality. We have been predicting this for two years.

"The lives of innocent people, who want no more than to be able to go about their daily business in safety, are being put at risk by those whose only aim in life is to reach the UK.

"The security forces currently in place just cannot cope. It's not just Calais itself that need protecting; it's the approach roads too.

"President Macron must get a grip of this situation and we urge him to deploy the French military to provide safe passage for the thousands of UK-bound hauliers that use this route every day."

Further calls for the French authorities to escalate action to ensure vehicles are protected were made by the Freight Transport Association (FTA).

Van driver killed in Calais after migrants block road with tree trunks

The organisation's EU affairs manager, Chris Yarsley, said: "This has brought the issue of migrants targeting drivers in Calais to the fore once again. FTA warned two years ago that their actions would lead to a death and it is now imperative that the French government takes action to control the situation and ensure the safety of drivers travelling to and from the port."

He added: "Driver safety is paramount and the French government needs to step up patrols on the major routes and move on migrants who are camped at the side of the road.

"This tragic incident demonstrates the risks to drivers and other road users, including day trippers and tourists. This death was wholly preventable and we must ensure that no-one else dies as a result of the dangerous actions of migrants on the roads."

More on this topic

Bette Browne: Children paying price of inhuman treatmentBette Browne: Children paying price of inhuman treatment

New refugee resettlement scheme to be rolled out nationwide following successful pilotNew refugee resettlement scheme to be rolled out nationwide following successful pilot

Ireland has taken in 2,500 refugees in four years, report findsIreland has taken in 2,500 refugees in four years, report finds

Ireland should more than double intake of refugees to meet 'fair share', migrant group saysIreland should more than double intake of refugees to meet 'fair share', migrant group says

More in this Section

US student and Iranian scientist released in prisoner swapUS student and Iranian scientist released in prisoner swap

18 killed in air strikes on rebel stronghold in Syria18 killed in air strikes on rebel stronghold in Syria

US naval base gunman ‘watched videos of mass shootings before attack’US naval base gunman ‘watched videos of mass shootings before attack’

Seven killed in gas blast at apartment complex in SlovakiaSeven killed in gas blast at apartment complex in Slovakia


Lifestyle

This Christmas remember that there is no such thing as cheap food.Buy local: Use your LOAF

As we wait, eager and giddy, a collective shudder of agitated ardor ripples through the theatre, like a Late, Late Toyshow audience when they KNOW Ryan’s going to give them another €150 voucher. Suddenly, a voice booms from the stage. Everyone erupts, whooping and cheering. And that was just for the safety announcement.Everyman's outstanding Jack and the Beanstalk ticks all panto boxes

Every band needs a Bez. In fact, there’s a case to be made that every workplace in the country could do with the Happy Mondays’ vibes man. Somebody to jump up with a pair of maracas and shake up the energy when things begin to flag.Happy Mondays create cheery Tuesday in Cork gig

More From The Irish Examiner