Operation to rescue migrants ‘under way in English Channel’

An operation is under way to rescue migrants attempting to cross the English Channel in a dinghy, according to reports.

Lifeboat crews and a cutter were said to have been called out to the boat spotted off the coast of Dover in Kent on Wednesday.

Footage broadcast on Sky News showed a group of people on a small boat near a lifeboat and a vessel thought to be a Border Force cutter.

Up to nine people were thought to be on board, according to BBC South East.

A Border Force cutter
A Border Force cutter (Gareth Fuller/PA)

It comes after MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Committee were told migrants were paying thousands of pounds to make the perilous crossing in the belief they would never have to leave once they reached the UK.

A baby and two children were among a group of 13 migrants found at sea in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

On Monday, a group of 15 Iranian men were found on board two small boats. Four were arrested on suspicion of facilitating illegal entry to the UK and have been released under investigation, the Home Office said.

On Sunday, a family of seven were found near Kingsdown after an empty dinghy was spotted in the Channel. The mother, father and five children were handed over to immigration officials.

A week ago a group of 34 men, women and children were detained after cutters and a coastal patrol boat intercepted a dinghy.

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