Van driver dies as he crashes into tail-back after migrants set up roadblock near Calais

Van driver dies as he crashes into tail-back after migrants set up roadblock near Calais
A van driver died on the highway to the French port of Calais in an accident caused by a roadblock of tree trunks set up by migrants. Nine Eritrean nationals have been detained in connection with the incident, according to local official.

The Polish-registered vehicle rammed into one of the three trucks which stopped in front of the roadblock, catching fire.

The driver, whose nationality isn’t known, died at the scene, as Le Parisien reports. The crash took place at Guemps, 15km from Calais, home to the notorious “Jungle” refugee camp. 

“Nine Eritrean migrants found in one of the heavy goods trucks held up by the roadblock were arrested,” the region’s authorities said, as quoted by Reuters.

The detainees are said to be charged with obstructing movement, endangering the lives of others, and manslaughter, according to AFP, citing a police source. 

The accident prompted the A16 highway to be shut down for several hours.

Tuesday’s incident is claimed to be the first resulting in death due to roadblocks set up by migrants. In the past, roadblocks were frequently reported, as migrants tried to slow down vehicles headed to the UK, attempting to climb aboard.

Although the practice ceased after the makeshift ‘Jungle’ camp was dismantled in October 2016, it has recently resumed, police say.

Up to 600 migrants are believed to live near Calais. French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb has dispatched more than 150 police officers to Britain’s doorstep to deal with roadblock incidents.