Dozens of migrants rescued after dinghy sinks in English Channel

The migrants were checked, found to be in a safe condition and taken to Dover for processing

A young girl is carried to shore as migrants arrive in Dungeness, Kent, after being rescued from the English Channel by the RNLI on Thursday. PA
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UK forces rescued 38 migrants from the Channel after their boat sank off the Kent coast on Thursday.

Their dinghy rapidly deflated in UK waters about 6.17am and some were in the water for almost an hour.

The coast guard launched a search and rescue operation, working alongside the RNLI, Royal Navy, Border Force and police.

By 7.07am, all 38 migrants who ended up in the water had been rescued.

They were all checked, found to be in a safe and stable condition and were then taken to Dover for processing. No deaths were reported, the Ministry of Defence said.

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The coast guard said it had been “co-ordinating a search and rescue response to an incident involving small boats off Kent” and sent a helicopter from Lydd, as well as a plane, lifeboats and patrol boats.

Last month, government officials said it was remarkable that there had not been more serious incidents, such as drownings, so far this year as the average number of people in each boat rose to 44, compared to 28 in 2021.

Thursday was another busy day for arrivals amid breezy and then calm and sunny conditions, with a steady stream of crossings continuing as the total for 2022 so far edged closer to 30,000.

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Large groups of people were later pictured being taken to Dungeness on two lifeboats, with crews carrying young children – including some wearing life jackets – to safety.

The arrivals, some wrapped in blankets, then formed a line along the beach while they waited to be processed.

The latest crossings come as government figures showed more migrants have made the journey across the Channel to the UK so far this year than in the whole of 2021.

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On Tuesday, 538 made the journey in 11 boats, according to the ministry, taking the provisional total for the year to 29,099. Last year there were 28,526.

No crossings were recorded on Wednesday.

Updated: September 15, 2022, 10:43 PM