French services rescue 166 migrants from freezing Channel
More than 160 migrants who tried to reach England on flimsy boats were rescued from freezing waters in the Channel overnight Friday, just days after a fatal shipwreck, French officials said Saturday.
Around 50 people on board a boat “in difficulty” off the northern French coast were rescued by a Navy vessel and taken to the port of Calais, regional maritime officials said.
Another Navy vessel rescued 31 other shipwrecked migrants in the same area and took them to the port of Boulogne.
Coast Guards brought 45 more people onshore in Calais after they issued a distress call, while a lifeboat went to the aid of a further 40 people nearby.
All were attended to by rescue services.
More than 40,000 migrants — a record — have reached England by boat from northern France this year, risking their lives to cross one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, often under dangerous weather conditions.
On Wednesday, at least four people died in a shipwreck off the southern English port of Dover.
That tragedy came just over a year after at least 27 people died in the Channel in another incident.
The UK government is trying to pass new laws to prevent the record numbers of migrants from attempting the Channel crossing, including making any such arrivals inadmissible for asylum claims.