France saves 213 migrants in the Channel – .

France saves 213 migrants in the Channel – .

A total of 213 migrants were rescued in the English Channel on Sunday and Monday as they attempted to cross France to Britain in small boats, French officials said. The operation would have involved at least one helicopter and four ships of the French Navy and the National Society for Rescue at Sea (SNSM).

“Many boats” in “difficulty” were reported to the French authorities in the night from Sunday to Monday (October 18), according to the press agency AFP. The 213 people on board these makeshift boats were trying to reach England, AFP reported.

The rescue operations, which involved at least one helicopter and four ships, took place off the French departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais and continued throughout the day, said the prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea competent in a statement.

A French navy patrol boat rescued 82 people on four separate operations and dropped them off in Calais. Seventy-six other migrants were recovered during two interventions by the French National Society for Rescue at Sea (SNSM).

Engaged with another boat which was “in the process of sinking”, another SNSM vessel recovered 40 people in distress who were “in a state of hypothermia”, according to the statement.

The remaining 15 people were rescued by a French Navy “intervention, assistance and rescue” tug. Members of the local firefighters and border police took charge of them as soon as they disembarked in Boulogne-sur-mer, according to the press release. The four vessels carried out a total of eight rescues.

Channel between the north of France and the south of Great Britain | Source: Google Maps

Read more: Proposed migration laws under attack, as Channel crossings continue to increase

Main migrant route

Since the end of 2018, the number of migrants attempting to cross the Channel irregularly by boat has increased sharply, despite repeated warnings from the authorities highlighting the dangers of heavy maritime traffic, strong currents and low water temperatures.

Earlier this month, more than 1,100 migrants crossed the Channel on 40 small boats in two days. French authorities prevented some 410 people from crossing.

On Monday 18 October, a group of suspected migrants were brought to Dover aboard a Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) vessel following an incident on a small boat in the English Channel | Photo credit: Gareth Fuller / Zuma Press / imago

Some 15,400 migrants attempted the crossing between January 1 and August 31, according to the prefect of France Philippe Dutrieux; 3,500 of them were “recovered in difficulty” in the strait and brought back to the French coast. Some 9,500 people crossed or attempted to cross last year, compared to 2,300 in 2019 and 600 in 2018.

With AFP


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