Sixty migrants – including women and children – who were trying to reach the British coasts on makeshift boats were rescued at sea on Monday February 22, announced the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea.
Alerted by the Gris-Nez Regional Operational Surveillance and Rescue Center (CROSS), a French Navy patroller recovered on board 27 castaways whose boat was out of power about 13 kilometers north of Calais, indicated the maritime prefecture in a press release.
Shortly after, another boat with engine failure about fifteen kilometers north of Escalles called for help. The 33 castaways were rescued by a coastal speedboat from the maritime gendarmerie and the PSP Pluvier. All safe and sound, they were dropped off in Calais shortly before 11:00 am where they were taken care of by the firefighters of the Pas-de-Calais departmental fire and rescue service (SDIS) as well as the border police (PAF ).
Since the end of 2018, these illegal crossings of the Channel have been increasing despite repeated warnings from the authorities stressing the danger linked to the density of traffic, strong currents and low water temperature. In 2020, more than 9,500 crossings or attempted crossings of this type were recorded, i.e. four times more than in 2019, according to a report from the maritime prefecture. Six people were killed there and three disappeared, after four deaths in 2019.