More than 600 migrants arrive in UK after Channel rescue

RNLI boats with people rescued from small boats Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire/PA Images

More than 600 migrants arrived in the UK after nearly 40 were rescued from the Channel when their boat sank off the Kent coast.

The Ministry of Defence said 617 people made the journey on Thursday in 14 boats, taking the total for the year so far close to 30,000. The figures suggest there was an average of 44 people per boat during the latest crossings.

Among the new arrivals were 38 people who were in the sea for almost an hour after their dinghy rapidly deflated in UK waters at around 6.17am.

The Coastguard launched a search and rescue operation, working alongside the RNLI, Royal Navy, Border Force and police.

By around 7.07am, all of the migrants who ended up in the water had been rescued.

They were all checked, found to be in a safe and stable condition, and were then taken to Dover for processing. No deaths were reported, the MoD said.

Last month, Government officials said it was remarkable there had not been any serious incidents, such as drownings, so far this year as the average number of people per boat rose to 44, compared to 28 in 2021.

More than 29,700 people have crossed the Channel to the UK so far this year, according to provisional Government figures.

This is higher than the number for the whole of 2021, which was 28,526.