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19 migrants rescued from boat in English Channel, says coastguard

The British coastguard said it rescued 19 migrants on Sunday from the Channel after their inflatable boat began to take on water. “The rhib (rigid-hulled inflatable boat), with 19 people on board was located at 2.00am (0100 GMT) and the incident handed over to Border Force,” it said in a statement.

The mission included the deployment of a search and rescue helicopter and lifeboats from Dungeness and Littlestone, coastal towns in Kent, south east England. Calais coastguard organisation SNSM assisted in the operation, according to its president Bernard Barron.

“We were called for help... with a boat carrying about twenty people between Calais and Dover,” he told AFP.

“The castaways, who were migrants, called their families, who then alerted the authorities and rescue missions were triggered on both sides of the Channel,” he said, adding that a helicopter had been deployed from Le Touquet, north west France.

“This confirms our fears: the smugglers are willing to take extreme measures, but the Channel is a real highway, presenting a great danger for this type of crossing,” he said. 
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