Chat with us, powered by LiveChat

Boat migrants took advantage of the D-Day anniversary


People smugglers have been accused of taking advantage of D-Day commemorations after launching perilous crossings while world leaders attended historic events along the French coast on the 6th June.

Around 80 migrants including a baby and two other children had to be rescued after a dinghy capsized in the Channel.

The boat is believed to have set off from Calais, before getting into difficulty and sending out a mayday to the Coastguard.

A huge rescue operation was launched, with helicopters and lifeboats scrambled to pull people out of the water.

The group were then seen being brought to shore before lunch time in Dover, where they are now being processed.

In recent days a number of dinghies have attempted to make the 20 mile journey from France to England.

While police were around, the dinghy surge coincided with hundreds of officers being diverted from Channel patrols around Calais to Normandy, where heads of state including King Charles and American president Joe Biden are commemorating the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in 1944.

The massive security operation started in Normandy on Monday, and will continue through to the weekend.

A French emergency services source based near Calais said: ‘President Macron began the commemorations in Normandy today, which is also when Mr Biden arrived in France.

‘Including soldiers, there will have been some 45,000 security officials in Normandy. This naturally means a reduction elsewhere.

‘It certainly appears that those launching the boats are attempting to take advantage of the reduction in police numbers on the coast around Calais and Dunkirk’.

The operation to rescue the occupants of a small boat crossing the Channel has now concluded with 'all people accounted for and back on land', a Coastguard spokesperson said.

They said: 'HM Coastguard has been coordinating the response to a small boat incident in the Channel this morning, June 6.

'Coastguard helicopters from Lydd and Lee-on-Solent, RNLI lifeboats and Border Force were sent.

'The search has now concluded with all people accounted for and back on land.'

The RNLI said: 'Dover RNLI all-weather lifeboat and Walmer inshore lifeboat were tasked by HM Coastguard to launch this morning (6 June) to an incident in the English Channel.'

Charity the International Rescue Committee UK said: 'This is yet another completely preventable incident in the English Channel and a reminder that deterrence policies don't work.'

A Home Office spokesman said: 'We continue to work closely with our French partners to prevent crossings and save lives.'

Government figures reveal that in past week alone, 331 people have arrived in the UK after crossing the Channel in small boats.

A shocking 711 people made the treacherous journey on May 1 in 14 boats according the the Home Office.

This is the highest recorded number of people having made the crossing in a single day.

Since the government announced its controversial Rwanda scheme more than 80,000 migrants have successfully made the journey.