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Channel migrants: Searches on Kent coast as eight held

Eight migrants land at Kingsdown Image copyright Stephen Ray
Image caption Eight men were detained by police after landing on the Kent coast

Searches are under way for several dinghies in the English Channel after eight migrants were detained on the Kent coast.

An operation is ongoing in response to a “number of incidents”, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said.

Eight men were passed to immigration officers after being held by police in Kingsdown at about 08:00 BST.

A dinghy carrying 13 men was also returned to Calais earlier after it was spotted by a French navy helicopter.

More than 1,000 people have crossed the Channel in small boats this year, with at least 270 in August alone.

Image copyright Premar Manche
Image caption A French navy helicopter spotted 13 men in a dinghy off the coast of Calais at about 04:30 BST

Paramedics have been sent to the scene in Kent. HM Coastguard added: “We have sent Folkestone and Deal Coastguard Rescue Teams to assist.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel met her French counterpart Christophe Castaner in Paris on Thursday to discuss a joint response to the rise in crossings.

The pair agreed to develop an “enhanced action plan” to stop vessels leaving the French coast.

Police said on Thursday the body of a migrant who fell from a boat off the coast of Ramsgate on 9 August has been found, while the body of an Iraqi migrant, who is believed to have drowned while trying to swim to the UK, was found at a wind farm off the coast of Belgium on 23 August.

A note on terminology: The BBC uses the term migrant to refer to all people on the move who have yet to complete the legal process of claiming asylum. This group includes people fleeing war-torn countries, who are likely to be granted refugee status, as well as people who are seeking jobs and better lives, who governments are likely to rule are economic migrants.


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