The English Channel is one of the world's busiest shipping channels | Photo: Picture-alliance/maxppp
The English Channel is one of the world's busiest shipping channels | Photo: Picture-alliance/maxppp

Eight migrants attempting to cross the English Channel from France to the United Kingdom in a rubber dinghy were picked up Sunday morning, French authorities said. The rescue is the latest in a series of such attempts to get to Britain.

The migrants were picked up Sunday morning off the French coast near Sangatte. French police and the British coast guard found them after receiving a call for distress at 3 a.m. in the morning.

Just two days before, a rubber boat carrying five migrants was intercepted. Two of the five passengers were suffering from hypothermia when they were rescued just offshore about 15 kilometers (nine miles) west of the port of Calais, AFP reports.

According to Britain’s interior ministry, 78 migrants had been picked up in two weeks prior to this weekend's rescues.

French authorities recently warned of a spike in migrants attempting the dangerous crossing of the English Channel by boat to reach Britain. Many migrants could fear that the border will be shut in March next year after Brexit, authorities said. 

Waiting out in northern France

Migrants have long massed along France's northern coast hoping to hide out in trucks heading for the United Kingdom, where many have family or believe they stand a better chance of getting asylum or finding a job.

But starting in 2016, officials began seeing attempts by migrants to use rubber boats to cross the 33-kilometer (20-mile) Strait of Dover, one of the world's busiest shipping channels, according to AFP.


 

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