About fifty migrants, including six children, were rescued Wednesday morning during five separate operations as they tried to cross the Channel by boat, announced the maritime prefecture and firefighters, while a man was discovered dead the same day on a beach in Pas-de-Calais.
Read also: With 1,200 migrants since the beginning of August, the Channel crossings are exploding
These interventions bring to at least a thousand (1,014, according to an AFP count) the number of migrants intercepted since the beginning of the year by the French authorities during attempts to cross the Channel by boat.
"State of hypothermia"
Alerted around 4:20 am of the presence of a migrant boat in difficulty off the coast, east of Dunkirk (North), the star of the Gris-Nez regional operational surveillance and rescue center (CROSS) first rescued 14 migrants, including a woman and three children, according to a press release from the maritime prefecture. One of the passengers of the boat had to be " recovered at sea near the boat " and some seemed " in a state of hypothermia ", say the authorities.
Over the next few hours, the CROSS Gris-Nez was warned by a ferry and merchant ships of the presence of other boats and recovered 6, 17 and 4 migrants respectively. Brought back to the French coast, they were taken care of by the border police.
Read also: Migrants: the body of a man found on a beach in Pas-de-Calais
The Departmental Fire and Rescue Service of the North (Sdis) reported in a press release the rescue by firefighters and the maritime gendarmerie of 13 migrants, including three children, " in difficulty on a boat " shortly before 7:00 a.m. in Loon-Plage, near Dunkirk. Within this group, four adults and two children aged four and eight had to be transferred to the Dunkirk Hospital Center, " in a mild state ", the firefighters said.
Despite the risks and the mobilization of significant surveillance resources, attempts to cross the Channel illegally between France and England have multiplied in recent months. In his press release, the maritime prefect of the English Channel and the North Sea recalls that the English Channel constitutes " one of the busiest areas in the world and where the weather conditions are often difficult (120 days of wind greater than or equal to force 7 in annual average) ”.
On Wednesday morning, the body of a man was found on a beach in Sangatte (Pas-de-Calais), after the rescue of a young Sudanese migrant, castaway from an inflatable boat, who declared his traveling companion missing . According to several judicial sources, this would be the first migrant found dead on the coast of Nord-Pas-de-Calais in 2020.