PARIS – According to the French authorities, eight migrants were picked up by a jammed boat on Tuesday when they attempted to cross the English Channel to the UK. There, the government office, which oversees immigration, reported in the southern waters nearly 30 more England and northern France.
The French regional authority or prefecture stated in a statement that the small dinghy with a failed engine was spotted off the coast of Calais on Tuesday. A police helicopter monitoring the area hauled a tug to the stranded migrants, the prefecture said.
The maritime authorities did not provide the nationalities of the passengers.
Calais, a port city at one end of a Channel Tunnel that connects France and English by train, has long been a magnet for migrants fleeing conflict or poverty in Africa and the Middle East. French officials closed a makeshift camp two years ago that was swelling to 10,000 at a time when people were waiting to haul trucks by rail to England.
The English Channel has recently seen a rise in migrants in France to England in small boats. The UK Department of the Interior said the border guards responded to five separate incidents involving English-boat boats involved in early Christmas and passengers from Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan.
The Home Office did not mention how many English migrants the French tugboat took at nine. The French Maritime Authority could not be reached to eliminate the discrepancy.
The bureau told the British Press Association that all medical reviews were received and sent for immigration interviews. The social welfare offices would take over the care of the two children among the passengers, reported the news agency.