Calais Migrants Channel Tunnel
Migrants run after crossing a fence as they attempt to enter the Channel Tunnel in Frethun, near CalaisReuters

A migrant who ventured on to the Eurotunnel railway tracks to reach Britain from Calais, in France, has been killed by a moving freight train. The man was walking towards the Channel Tunnel's entrance at the Coquelles terminal early in the morning of Friday 16 October, when he was hit by a train coming from the UK.

Rescuers told local media the migrant was so badly injured they could not immediately identify his age or sex. "The body was torn into pieces scattered over more than 400m," a firefighter told AFP. Eurotunnel later confirmed the victim was a man.

Eurotunnel spokesman John Keefe said the migrant was found unconscious by the tracks minutes after 2am. Emergency services were called immediately but he was pronounced dead at the scene. "This was another terrible and extremely regrettable tragedy," Keefe said. "Eurotunnel reiterates the significant danger implicit in trying to cross the tunnel illegally."

Psychological support was being provided to the driver of the train, which had just reached France from Britain when the incident happened. While at the terminal, freight trains usually run at moderate speed, inside the tunnel they reach up to 140km per hour.

The incident was the second reported in the northern French city over the past two days. On 15 October a Syrian refugee was fatally in collision with a car travelling on a motorway near the Channel Tunnel. Up to 5,000 people, mainly from East Africa, the Middle East and Afghanistan, who reached this bottleneck on their way to the UK, are currently living in the area surrounding Calais waiting for an opportunity to cross the Channel. Some 16 have died trying since June.

Earlier in October, two Iranian migrants were arrested after walking the 50km distance to the UK. They had entered the Eurotunnel exploiting disruptions caused by another 200 migrants that stormed the tunnel's perimeter fences.

Eurotunnel's passenger services are currently delayed by 30 minutes from Calais and two hours from Folkestone.