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French coastguards rescue 11 migrants headed for Britain in Channel

Representative Image. Photograph:( AFP )

AFP Calais, France Jul 24, 2019, 06.22 PM (IST)

French coastguards on Wednesday rescued 11 migrants, including a woman and two children, after their rigid-hulled inflatable boat hit trouble heading for Britain in the English Channel, authorities said.

The migrants themselves signalled to emergency services they were in distress off Calais and the coastguard mobilised a rescue vessel backed by a helicopter, the local maritime authorities said in a statement.

The migrants were safely returned to the port of Dunkirk and handed over to border police.

Migrants in northern France are increasingly willing to take greater risks to reach Britain due to hardline policing and increased security at ports in the area.

French authorities strongly warn against such attempts, noting that the Channel is one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world.

The first months of this year saw a spike in Channel crossings by Afghan, Iranian, Iraqi and African migrants trying to reach England, prompting stepped-up patrols by British and French police.

The French boss of a second-hand boat firm was sentenced to prison in May for selling dozens of vessels to migrants who used them to cross the Channel.

Story highlights

Migrants in northern France are increasingly willing to take greater risks to reach Britain due to hardline policing and increased security at ports in the area.