29.11.2020 Europe

French patrol ship rescues 45 migrants attempting dangerous Channel crossing

Sameer Al-DOUMY AFP/File
LISTEN NOV 29, 2020
Sameer Al-DOUMY AFP/File

A French patrol ship has rescued 45 migrants including a pregnant woman and children who ran into difficulty while attempting to cross the Channel. French authorities said they had been warned by the gendarmerie that their boat was in trouble off Leffrinckoucke near Dunkirk.

In a statement, the French prefecture in charge of the Channel and North Sea said that several of the people “appeared to be in a state of hypothermia” after being brought aboard a patrol ship.

First responders and border police took charge of the migrants, who were “all safe and sound” when they were put ashore in Calais in the early evening, it added.

In the statement, the prefecture added that crossing the Channel, which is one of the world's busiest routes and has difficult weather conditions, is dangerous.

In late October, four people died and three were reported missing, devastating an Iranian-Kurdish family in the deadliest single incident for migrants attempting to cross the Channel.

Increasing numbers of people have attempted the sea crossing from France to Britain since 2018.

On Saturday, the two countries signed a deal aimed at shutting down the route, which calls for French patrols to be doubled and for radar and drones to be used to spot migrant boats earlier. 

(with AFP)

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