20 rescued from inflatable boat in the Channel

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By Catherine Hardy
20 rescued from inflatable boat in the Channel

<p>The UK Coastguard has rescued 20 people from the English Channel after their inflatable boat began to take on water.</p> <p>Officials say they are 18 Albanians and two British nationals.</p> <p>They were rescued late on Saturday after an operation involving a search-and-rescue helicopter and lifeboats dispatched from English and French ports. <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Eighteen Albanian migrants rescued in Channel after inflatable boat started taking on water <a href="https://t.co/fZ9ipKEpeG">https://t.co/fZ9ipKEpeG</a> <a href="https://t.co/dx7CbRI0YD">pic.twitter.com/dx7CbRI0YD</a></p>— Daily Mail U.K. (<code>DailyMailUK) <a href="https://twitter.com/DailyMailUK/status/736921114316800000">May 29, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Coastguard rescues migrants and Brits suspected of people smuggling in the English Channel <a href="https://t.co/dlzo7T2uLF">https://t.co/dlzo7T2uLF</a> <a href="https://t.co/fqSF6AY2TY">pic.twitter.com/fqSF6AY2TY</a></p>&mdash; The Telegraph (</code>Telegraph) <a href="https://twitter.com/Telegraph/status/736950401203765248">May 29, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p></p> <p>A rescue call was received shortly before midnight local time (2300 <span class="caps">GMT</span>). The boat was off the coast at Dymchurch, 120 kilometres southeast of London.</p> <p>It took rescuers several hours to locate the small rigid-hulled inflatable boat.</p> <p>The Home Office says the 20 people rescued have been taken to Dover. They are being questioned by British border officials. <p> <h3><strong>Is it the first time this has happened?</strong></h3> </p></p> <p>No.</p> <p>On <strong>Tuesday</strong>, 17 Albanians and a British national on a catamaran were apprehended 150 kilometres to the west in the port of Chichester in West Sussex.</p> <p>At the beginning of <strong>February</strong>, four Iranian migrants lost at sea in the Channel were saved by a fifth who had swum ashore at Sangatte in France and raised the alarm.</p> <p>At the end of <strong>March</strong>, the French Navy rescued three Iranian nationals who had got into difficulty in an inflatable boat off Dunkerque.</p> <p>“This confirms our fears: people are prepared to do whatever it takes. But the Channel is a maritime motorway and it is really dangerous to attempt this kind of crossing,” said <strong>Bernard Barron, President of the <span class="caps">SNSM</span> of Calais</strong>. <p> <h3><strong>What they are saying</strong></h3> </p></p> <p>“A rescue operation has been carried out at sea in British waters during the night off Dungeness. 20 migrants were in a semi-rigid boat which was sinking,” – Maritime Prefecture of the Channel and North Sea.</p> <p>“The victims, who admit they are migrants, called their families who alerted the authorities. Rescue services were despatched from both sides of the Channel,” said the President of the <span class="caps">SNSM</span> of Calais, Bernard Barron.</p>