Asylum seekers used toy light to guide Dover lifeboat crew
About 30 asylum seekers in a small boat used the flashing light from a baby toy and the torch from a mobile phone to guide rescuers to them in the dark.
Witnesses said they suffered from the cold and were disoriented by fog in the English Channel in the early hours of this morning (Saturday).
A number of young families were brought ashore at Dover. A baby in a white bodysuit was seen wrapped in a survival blanket which had apparently been distributed by the crew of an RNLI lifeboat.
Another baby boy was seen cradled by his father as they were guided to a migrant processing center shortly after 3am.
A baby was handed over to a Border Force agent while his parents were checked.
It was the 19th small boat to arrive in the UK since the start of the year.
A lifeboat crew found them just yards from the Sandettie lightship at 1 a.m., near the same spot where 27 asylum seekers died last year and 24 hours after a man lost his life trying to cross the English Channel.
They were transferred to the Border Force boat Hurricane and taken to safety. Witnesses said some wore poor quality buoyancy aids.
It was the sixth day in a row that the RNLI was called upon to help small boats in difficulty.
It is understood that the asylum seekers have issued a distress call to the police and coast guard.
The Dover lifeboat crew was guided by the boat’s radar and lights.
More than 450 people have already crossed the Channel from France since the beginning of the year. More than 100 were intercepted by the French authorities before their departure.
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