Crossings are increasing: 342 migrants who were trying to reach England on makeshift boats were rescued on Sunday in the Strait of Pas de Calais, including two in a state of advanced hypothermia and one injured, announced the maritime prefecture .

During the night from Saturday to Sunday, then during the day on Sunday, the Gris-Nez operational surveillance and rescue center (Cross) was informed “that many boats” were in difficulty off the North and the Pas- de-Calais, said the maritime prefecture of the Channel and the North Sea (Premar) in a press release.

Many interventions

An intervention, assistance and rescue tug was then engaged on three rescue operations, to recover more than 200 castaways. The rescuers at sea from Calais, Dunkirk and Boulogne-sur-Mer have, for their part, recovered 121 people during six separate operations, detailed the prefecture. Three castaways were also winched, including two in a state of advanced hypothermia and one injured.

For its part, the United Kingdom rescued or intercepted a total of 1,115 migrants crossing the Channel on board small boats on Friday and Saturday, the British Home Office said on Sunday.

About 15,400 crossing attempts

Since the end of 2018, illegal crossings of the Channel by migrants seeking to reach the United Kingdom have increased despite repeated warnings from the authorities who highlight the danger linked to the density of traffic, strong currents and the low temperature of the water.

According to the maritime prefect Philippe Dutrieux, some 15,400 migrants attempted the crossing between January 1 and August 31, of which 3,500 were “recovered in difficulty” in the strait and brought back to the French coast.

According to the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin, the arrests of illegal boats have however increased by 15 points in the last three months, from “from 50% to 65% of boats arrested”, he said on Saturday during a trip to the coast.

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