British prime minister criticizes France on deadly Thames boat tragedy

Written by Ali Kagawa, CNN

Some 41 bodies have been recovered from the flooded waters of the River Thames following the tragedy in which 20 people died.

More than 100 were caught up in the flooding when a freak wave of water smashed down on a crowded holiday speedboat traveling through the English countryside.

The emergency services in Essex have called for calm after the incident, but officials from France and Britain have taken opposite positions on the matter.

The French government described the events as “unacceptable” and “inexcusable” on its website while Britain has issued a statement blaming France for encouraging unsanctioned activities on its shoreline.

The ongoing squabble has been thrown into even more conflict with the French foreign minister reportedly demanding an apology from British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.

When questions were asked about the incident in the House of Commons, Johnson declined to comment, calling the matter “relatively minor.”

Following news of the tragedy, Prime Minister Theresa May used her weekly broadcast to the public to speak out on the issue.

“When it comes to search and rescue, there is no place for anyone putting their own pleasure ahead of the lives of others and there is no doubt that the operation carried out by the emergency services on Saturday was outstanding. But from the reports I have received… I have been dismayed to hear that boats were used which are not supposed to be used in a search and rescue situation,” May said.

British officials have repeatedly expressed concern about the crowding of the Thames as Britain’s countryside is increasingly inundated by flood waters.

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