LILLE: Eight migrants suffering from hypothermia were rescued from an inflatable boat on Sunday morning after they sought to cross the Channel to England, French authorities said.
The migrants, whose nationality was not immediately known, called French rescue services around 3 am, maritime authorities said in a statement.
A French police boat and a one launched by Britain’s Royal National Lifeboat Institution found the migrants around 05:20, some 19 kilometres (11 miles) off Sangatte, in northern France.
The migrants were brought back to Boulogne and handed over to French border police.
France warned last week of a spike in migrants attempting to illegally cross the Channel by boat, which could reflect fears the border will be even more tightly controlled after Britain leaves the European Union in March.
Eighteen migrants were rescued at sea overnight on Wednesday to Thursday, eight more Friday morning, and five on Saturday.
The Channel is only 30 kilometres wide at its narrowest point off northern France, but strong tides and currents, along with heavy maritime traffic make the crossing very dangerous.
A day earlier Morocco’s navy found the bodies of 15 migrants from sub-Saharan Africa on board a boat stranded at sea for days and rescued 53 survivors, a military source said.
Coastguards recovered “15 lifeless corpses” from the vessel in the Mediterranean Sea after it was left drifting for four days following engine failure on its way to Spain, the source said.