PARIS — More than 200 migrants were rescued in the space of 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday, as they tried to reach England by crossing the Channel.
Among those rescued were two people drifting off the coast of Calais on Sunday morning in a small dinghy, French authorities said.
In another operation on Saturday night, the crew of a state-chartered rescue vessel rescued 60 migrants. Among them, “one shipwrecked person fainted, in a state of hypothermia”, officials said.
Midway through the day on Sunday, the same vessel rescued 21 people from another boat in difficulty.
“But during this rescue operation, some of the migrants managed to get the engine running again and refused to be rescued by French resources,” the statement said.
French authorities decided to let them continue, in view of the risks of trying to force them back, and another ship was tasked with keeping an eye on the migrant boat.
In other operations, two groups of 15 migrants, one of 21 and another of 67 were also rescued.
The Pas-de-Calais region has been experiencing severe weather for the past ten days, causing very high flood levels. There was a lull at the weekend before further rainfall.
At the end of the summer, the Hauts-de-France prefecture noted that the average number of passengers per boat used for these dangerous crossings was constantly increasing, with “an average of 53 people per boat, almost double the number since 2021”. — Euronews