Three hundred and forty-two migrants who were trying to reach England on makeshift boats were rescued Sunday, October 10 off the Strait of Pas-de-Calais, announced the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea ( Premar).
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During the night from Saturday to Sunday then during the day on Sunday, the Gris-Nez operational surveillance and rescue center (Cross) was informed “That many boats” were in difficulty off the North and Pas-de-Calais. An intervention, assistance and rescue tug was then engaged on three rescue operations, “During which he recovered 124 castaways” – including one injured helicopter -, and a patrol boat from the French Navy “Recovered 95 castaways” during eight operations.
Rescuers at sea from Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne-sur-Mer have for their part recovered 121 people during six separate operations, detailed the prefecture. Two castaways were also winched by helicopter, both in a state of advanced hypothermia.
On Saturday, 76 people trying to reach England had been rescued and 95 on Friday. For its part, the United Kingdom rescued or intercepted a total of 1,115 migrants crossing the Channel on board small boats on Friday and Saturday, the British Home Office said on Sunday.
15,400 migrants since 1er January
Since the end of 2018, illegal crossings of the Channel by migrants seeking to reach the United Kingdom have increased despite repeated warnings from the authorities who highlight the danger linked to the density of traffic, strong currents and the low temperature of the water.
According to maritime prefect Philippe Dutrieux, some 15,400 migrants attempted the crossing between the 1er January and August 31, of which 3,500 were “Recovered in difficulty” in the strait and brought back to the French coast. In 2020, crossings and attempted crossings concerned some 9,500 people, compared to 2,300 in 2019 and 600 in 2018.
According to the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin, the arrests of illegal boats have, however, increased by 15 points over the past three months, passing “From 50% to 65% of boats arrested”, he said on Saturday during a trip to the coast.